As one of the oldest cycling clubs in the world, the `Anfield' has an amazing history. The early members in the 1880s and 1890s helped shape competitive long-distance cycling and time trialling. Founder members included George Pilkington Mills, the greatest cyclist of his day. He held Land's End to John O'Groats records on various machines, won the first Bordeaux to Paris race and inspired the Tour de France. Others included Lawrence Fletcher, who ensured the survival of cycle racing on UK public roads into the twentieth century; John Houlding, the ABC's second president and father of Liverpool Football Club; J. D. Siddeley (Lord Kenilworth), motor car and aircraft manufacturer; D. C. Rowatt, owner of Liverpool's main tobacco-importing business; W. P. Cook, national cycling administrator and fund-raiser; and the cycling journalist W. M. Robinson (`Wayfarer'), who inspired a generation of cyclists in the 1920s.
With its unbroken history, the Anfield Bicycle Club's story is of great interest to cycling enthusiasts, and everybody interested in sporting heritage. Tucked away in the club's archive, and now brought to light in this book, are extraordinary stories of cycling's pioneering years, and of distinguished service in the First and Second World Wars. Such is the archive's breadth and scope that you can follow the fortunes of the club, its individual members, and the countryside explored, through all the changes of the twentieth century.
Spanning the history of cycling, this unique collection of photographs, documents and ephemera celebrates the club's amazing pictorial heritage and paints a remarkable picture from the pioneering years of record-breaking and racing to the present day.
David Birchall is a life-long cyclist and second generation member of the Anfield Bicycle Club. Since the 1960s his articles on cycle touring and history have been widely published. As a past president of the Anfield Bicycle Club, and now its archivist, he has ensured the conservation of the club's unique archive, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.