The 1930’s Wheelers!

The first instantiation of Bray Wheelers is mentioned in 1935, in an interview with a Fred Curtis in the Bray People on Friday 14th of October 1988. Fred from Roselawn Park in Bray was a “founder member of the old Bray Wheelers Cycling Club in 1935 and was part of their activities for a few years”. He explained “this was the first Bray Wheelers. The more famous Bray Wheelers came about fifteen years later. In 1935 the club were affiliated to the CRE and he remembers Sundays when they would think nothing of doing a 100 mile run”.

The Wicklow People on the same day (unsure if thats a coincidence) had the following in their Man on the Corner section “ Someone asked us some months back to check the original founding of the Bray Wheelers’ Cycling Club. The first Bray Wheelers was founded at a meeting on June 8th, 1935, and the officers included: W. Wilde, J. James, W. Kennedy, M. Brennan, Miss Pearson and Miss Greene. It seems it went out of existence inside a couple of years and it was revived in 1949 to become the greatest cycling club on the Irish scene”

On June 14th 1935 an a note appeared in the Irish Press from Bray Wheelers “Meet Bray Boy’s Hall, Sunday, 2:30 pm for joint outing with South County Club to Glendhu”.

On August 16th 1935 the Evening Herald carried the following:

“ Bray Wheelers are promoting a camping weekend with Courtown Harbour as the venue. Members participating meet headquarters 2.30 p.m. tomorrow and at-business members 8.30pm sharp. Sunday Touring section meet 11 a.m. for Arklow and district. Afternoon—Meet 2.30 pm. for Devil’s Glen. Both sections will join week-enders in Wicklow for tea. Visitors invited. Note—The Committee insist that lamps in good working order be carried on all tours”

On Saturday 24 August 1935 the Wicklow People reported the following:

“CYCLING TOURNAMENT – Under the auspices of the Harp Cycling Club, a cycle and polo tournament will be held at Carlisle Grounds, Bray on Sunday, 25th August. The programme is one that will provide a true afternoon’s entertainment. Amongst the cycling events will be the three miles open handicap for the Dunlop Cup, a ladies’ open handicap over a 1000 metres and a two miles races confined to members of the Bray Wheelers’ Club. An interesting part of the programme will be the cycle polo tournament in which the teams will be provided by the Harp, Suburban, Hillbrook and Glasses Celtic Clubs. The first event is at 3.30 p.m.”

Later in 1935 Bray Wheelers were allocated 2 delegates for the County Dublin Cycling Convention held at Wynns Hotel in Dublin

In 1936 the following article appeared in the Wicklow People on February 1st

BRAY WHEELERS’ RALLY. – The Bray Wheelers held a very successful rally at the Holywood Hotel, Bray, on Sunday night.

Representatives from Wicklow, Dalkey and the leading Dublin cycling clubs were in attendance. During the interval Mr. T. James, hon. sec. of the home club, presented medals to the winners of the road race promoted by the Bray Wheelers.

Mr. Casey was a very capable MC and thanked the Bray club on behalf of visitors for the most, enjoyable evening they had given them.

The music was supplied by Dodd’s Dance Band. A feature of the evening was the brilliant playing piano solos by Miss G. Dodd.

The Wicklow People also reported on April 4th 1936 that the Bray Wheelers held their first open race on the Navan Road on Sunday. It was a 25 mile event in which a field of 32 riders competed. The team event was won by National but there is not mention of individual or team placings for Bray Wheelers.

Later that year in August according to the Wicklow People on Saturday the 8th, Bray Wheelers would be one of the clubs featuring in Glenealy Cycling Clubs “exhibition of bicycle racing which is now one of the most popular sports in the world”. The event was promoted by the club and held under the CRE whose President Mr. J.J. Sweeney was there to present prizes. In the Two Miles Open Handicap for “The Wicklow People Cup” a P.White from Bray Wheelers finished in 3rd place.

It’s clear that throughout 1936 and active Bray Wheelers were running racing, touring and and afternoon spins throughout most of the year. Examples like this appear regularly in the press.

In 1937 the Wicklow People reported that the Glenealy Cycling Club agreed on an inter-club 25 mile race with Bray Wheelers from Glenealy to Kilpedder via Rathnew and back. The race took place on St. Patricks Day as reported in the Wicklow People on 20th March and had a poor attendance “due to the bad weather and the last of the ‘flu which prevented riders training for the race”. Again P. White featured for Bray with the fastest time and also being 1st on handicap.

At the end of April again the Bray Wheelers held their 25 mile open T.T. and handicap on the Navan Road. P. White again featured but his time of 66mins and 45 seconds was 10 seconds slower than the eventual winner. Twenty participants took place in the race. P.T White of Bray Wheelers again features in a 10 mile open road race run by Comet CC in May where he finished 3rd but placed first in the handicap results. He then came second in the seventh open handicap cup for the B.S.A. Cup held under the joint auspices of the Co. Dublin Road Club and Comet CC over a 21 mile course from Dun Loaghaire through Enniskerry to the Scalp.

On Saturday 10th July 1937 the Wicklow People reported the following

GLENEALY CYCLING CLUB. Results of 25 miles championship of county Wicklow run from Kilpeddar to Glenealy and back on the 30th June were:

1st—P. White (Bray Wheelers) 1h 5m 38s 2nd J. White, (Bray Wheelers) 1hr  10m 32s

The Bray Wheelers team: P. White, J. White, T. James, won the team championship with a total time of 3 hours 36 minutes, 8 seconds. 

On April 25th 1938 the Irish independent ran the following article, again featuring Bray Wheelers at the White brothers, from this article we can assume that this version of Bray Wheelers had two of the countries top cycling talents on their hands:

FIRST AND SECOND Belfast Men Make Fast Times – One of the biggest fields that has been seen for many years in a cycle race on the road took part yesterday in the 25 miles open handicap of the National C.C. on the Navan road.

The 70 starters included eleven riders from Belfast. and with this strong measure of support from the North it was not inappropriate that the two fastest times of the race should have been done by Belfast men. Victor Piggott did 62 mins. 51 secs beating his fellow clubman W. Kernaghan, by 6 seconds. For the first time this year, T. P. Quinn was the best of the Dublin riders, but while beating Marlow by over a minute he was fifteen seconds slower than Piggott.

The National trio had an easy win from Shamrock C.C. In the team race. and the handicap went to E. Garry, of Dunderry. off 11 rains. 30 secs., the first six men on the handicap being under 58 mins.

Fastest Times—V. Piggott (Belvoir). lh. 2m. h is.; W. Kernaghan ( Bei stair . 1-2-57: T. F. Quinn ( National ) l-3-0: M. Marlow (do.). 1-4-23: R. Broderick (Shamrock). 1-4-45: P. T. Whyte (Bray Wheelers) 1-4-47

Handicap Result-1, E. Garry (Dunderry) (11-30). 55m. 75.: 2. J. J. Whyte (Bray Wheelers) (8-0) 58-52:

Unfortunately news of Bray Wheelers and the exploits of the White (or Whyte) brothers dry up at this point and there is no mention of Bray Wheelers in any of the national press archives until the 27th of May 1950.