Classic Time Trial Photos

alf engers

Alf Engers finishes to a large crowd.

These 30+ photos come from a collection by the late Bernard Thompson. The photos are taken mostly in the period 1960-1985. You can buy a CD of these photos from Peter Whitfield. Details at the bottom.


Eddie Adkins Phil Griffiths in a 2 up Time Trial in the Rain

5 Spectators

5 young spectators line the road.

Beryl burton

Beryl Burton, the Greatest Female Time Triallist of all time. (Beryl Burton)

bike to race

Taking your Bike To Race

Catford Hill CLimb

Start of Catford CC Hill Climb. (Catford CC is probably the world’s longest running race)

Alf Engers

Alf Engers. Alf dominated the sport in the 1970s. He was the man to beat at 25 miles. In 1978, he set a sub 50 minute time for 25 miles – 49.24, before tri bars and disc wheels. (25 mile Time trials)

Before changing rooms

Before Changing Rooms. Many early time trials had no changing facilities. Riders would improvise by the side of roads.

Frank Southall

Frank Southall, doing a dead turn during a race in the 1930s. Many early time trial course simply went 12.5 miles in one direction, then riders would do a turn in the middle of the road and come back. This was at a time when traffic volumes were very low!

dead turn fall off

Unfortunately, doing a dead turn in the middle of the road at high speed wasn’t always so easy!

Ann Horsewell

Ann Horsewell. A great female time triallist, often coming second to Beryl Burton

David Duffield

David Duffield. There’s only one David Duffield. Later became cycling commentator for Eurosport; David has tremendous passion and enthusiasm for cycling (some quotes of David Duffield)

afmily sport

Time Trialling – A family day out.

david lloyd

David Lloyd. One the top British riders in the late 70s and early 80s.

long winding road

The Road goes ever on…

Feed on bath road

A feeding station on the Bath Road

winats pass

Hill climb on Winats pass. Probably a national championship by number of spectators.

Jon French

Jon French displaying the height of 1980s fashion and aerodynamics. A good tester will do anything to save that extra second.

jim ogden

Jim Ogden receiving a prize.

Funny bike

Funny Bikes, with upturned handlebars, were all the rage in the 1980s. Graeme Obree (not person above) had the last laugh though when he broke the World Hour record on his own very unique design.

John Woodburn

John Woodburn. National 25 mile Champion in 1961. Still racing into his 70s – John Woodburn

Mick Bowen

Mick Bowen. President of Oxonian CC for over 50 years.

3 on bike

3 On a Bike. Maybe the inspiration for Monty Python’s cycling tour

Chris Coleman Maureen Wroe

Chris Coleman Maureen Wroe

jon Bayliss

Jon Bayliss grits his teeth as the spectators enjoy a cup of tea. Tea is usually in plentiful supply at most time trial races.

Norman Maggs

Norman Maggs smokes a pipe during a 24 hour time trial.

road countryside

Road through countryside. A scene from any number of sporting courses (away from the dual carriage dragstrips)

wheel carrier

A wheel Carrier. Horace Mouatt of the Surrey Road CC


A classic starting scene. Eddie Stagg, then of Old Portlians CC and now Bournemouth Jubilee Whs

early morning race

Early morning race.

Reg Randall, riding a Moulton, passes Jamaica Inn on his unsuccessful end to end attempt.

come on mister

“Keep peddling” “I can run faster than you!” “I’ll give you 2 bob for your bike sir”


It’s the pits.

Mike Potts

Mike Potts. – You can’t beat the feeling of finishing a race.

More Photos

About Photographer Bernard Thompson.

Bernard was born in Southfields, West London in 1924. He was interested in photography from an early age. He also began cycling just before the war, aged about 14. Interestingly, he says that his parents refused to let him have a bike because the roads were so dangerous – even though there were hardly any cars. As Bernard said

“As a matter of fact the roads were more dangerous then than they are now, even though there wasn’t a fraction of the traffic that there is today. The standard of driving then was abysmal, you didn’t even have to take a test until 1935, anyone could just jump into a car and drive it around. A road accident was just that – an accident. If a cyclist or anyone else was killed by a car, no one was ever to blame, there was no sense of safety or responsibility.”

After the war, Bernard got more involved in time trialling and began racing himself.

You can buy a CD (there are over 280 pictures) from:

Peter Whitfield
Wychwood Publishing
Tachbrook House
Oxfordshire OX7 3PS

for £10.

Note on CD: In commemoration of Bernard Thompson’s lifetime’s work as a cycling photographer, these images are presented copyright free for the use of any individuals or institutions furthering the interests of cycling.


- More on cycling time trials

Classic Cycling Photos from Cycling’s Golden Age at Amazon

Book Cover

69 Responses to Classic Time Trial Photos

  1. Parfitt-Edwards September 20, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    My husband took part in the QUAKER 1955 AMATEUR CIRCUIT OF BRITAIN but doesn’t have any photographs of the teams or himself during this tour. Does anyone out there have any please?

  2. jonty pritchard July 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    does anybody remember brian wylcher charlie mccoy and dave bonner from the 60s
    they came from the southern clubs i think i just wondered if anybody hears about them
    these days!!! they were up there with alfie on times from memory cya jonty

  3. ken Downing December 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Great photos,reminds me of the fun,friendship,the odd prize vouchers (sometimes enough value to buy a new tub) and the bad weather,ellimans athletic rub,oil of wintergreen and the PAIN,
    happy days.Wish i could be there again sadly there is no return but dreams

    Born again biker Ken

    • jonty pritchard March 4, 2013 at 9:35 am #

      send me your email ken we could exchange some great stories i started cycling and racing at age 14 1956 c ya jonty ( did we really know that was a magic time in our lives ??? )

      • ken Downing June 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

        Jonty I joined Askern C C (Doncaster) at the age of 12/13 that would be in 1958.

        Lots of sunday runs for a year or two before I started time trialing,to begin we had to complete a reliability trial 130 miles in 8 hours. Just made it by 2/3 mins.

        I`m 68 now and recovering from a heart attack,but fitter now than I was 25 years ago.
        I found the first reliability trial certificate Jan of this year,it got me thinking could I do this again.

        Yes,i think,planning to do it on rollers,for the British Heart Foudation. Everyone in my family and friends think I`m mad,they may be right,however, my training is going well.
        I would welcome your e-mailed stories.

        • jonty pritchard July 2, 2013 at 9:49 am #

          hi again ken,from memory i think that i posted a comment on your heart foundation reliability roller attempt last year WHEN ARE YOU MAKING THE ATTEMPT ?? will you be trying for the same distance in the same time that you did all those years ago ?? all i can say iz TAKE IT EASY and that is from someone who had a baad ( H A ) 12YEARS AGO i might give it a go myself but i will have to train even harder i think i would rather do the ride out on the road with other riders WHY ARE YOU DOING IT ON THE ROLLERS ?? so you come from the great tommy simpsons home town did you ever train with or ride with the great beryl burton ?!! becausei never rode any of the yorkshire tt courses not even any southern courses e g the great north road bath road E T C i never had the privilege of being caught by b b alf engers charlie mccoy dave bonner i rode most of my time trials in cheshire and on the east lancashire AS IT WAS KNOWN THEN !! courses . will talk again soon i have lots of stories from my club days with the abbotsford park road club our club house was the former reg harris stadium in the 50s i am also keeping in touch with len hall do you know len he lives near bath still riding at 76 !! i have just turned 70 are you enjoying the t d f c ya jonty

  4. Samantha Beal May 8, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    Great photos – I am one of Ken Craven’s daughters and it is his 80th birthday this year. I think you mentioned him in your original write up. Know it is a long shot but my sister and I are trying to find something special for his 80th birthday and wondered if you have any photos or something from his great past that would make an ideal 80th birthday present.

    Please email me and let me know or if you can suggest anywhere we can go.

    Many thanks

    • Quentin Craven June 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      Hello there. I was briefly looking at web entries for my father, Ken Craven, of veteran motorcycle fame, and came across this posting. Imagine my confusion at finding out that my father had a hidden family, that I have a previously unknown sister, and that most confusing of all, they are under the impression that he is alive and coming up for his 80th birthday, whereas I was there when he died some years back in his mid eighties. All this passed through my mind, you may be pleased to know, in a matter of a split second before the penny dropped: there are of course two Ken Cravens being referred to. Well, from the son of the motorcycling one to the daughter of the cycling one: hope all’s well in your world, and that the birthday went well. And greetings to the other Ken Craven!

    • paul bannister May 29, 2012 at 1:49 am #

      Ken and I rode(and won) a Gentleman’s 10 two-up TT in ,,er, 1967. I was riding for Witcomb Cycles/Metro CRC, Deptford and was working for Cycling magazine , or maybe by then for the PLA paper, Port. Anyway, I’m in Oregon now, and I’d love to send greetings. Please email a contact to me, I’ll dig and see if I can’t find a photo or two.

      best, pb.

      apologies that it’s taken a year for me to find this)

  5. Peter Deacon January 22, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Interesting how most top cyclist got the bug …Alf Engers..Terry Hicks and I Peter Deacon we were cycling to southend from elthorne road london N19 …which is about 40 miles at the tender age of about 12 the time Alf was living on jam doughnuts from his dads bakery :)

    • jonty pritchard July 2, 2013 at 10:36 am #

      gidday peter that ride you did from elthorne to southend takes me
      back to when i was 16 years old I AM NOW 70 STILL RIDING CYCLING CHOSE ME !! on with the story i decided to ride to blackpool from manchester i had been riding club 25s and tens for about one and a half years just put gears on my bike i i had very little money and knew little or nothing about rehydrating and food intake anyway i made blackpool stayed a while then commenced the ride home got to within about ten miles of my home and collapsed onto the pavement i was desperate for water somebody gave me some which gave me the impetus to push on home when i arrived my mother said to me where have you been we have had the police out looking for you i said blackpool mam said BLACKPOOL ON YOUR BIKE !!! i had gotten the bug !! i stil dont know the distance but apparently it is now an annual ride for cancer and well patronised jonty gold coast australia

  6. Peter Deacon January 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Hi Terry …living in Sussex email

  7. steven November 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    great shots. even tho bike tech has changed so much it now verges on rocket science, one thing that hasn’t is ‘english teeth’!!

  8. Dan Dunkley September 23, 2010 at 1:41 am #

    What a nostalgic pic of the sign post to Holmes Chapel Cheshire. I did my only 100 m time trial there in about 1968.

    What about a pic of the great Shuttleworths, the trike riders?

    • jonty pritchard October 10, 2012 at 4:53 am #

      hi dan `just caught your blog 2 years later re holmes chapel ( NEVER TO LATE ) & i cast my mind back to the late 50s & early 60s when just down the road in macclesfield i rode the hilly macclesfield to leek 25 mile tt for about 8years i think it was in january robin murray apollo wheelers UP NORTH held the record can u tell me do they still hold the event ??? jonty australia c ya

      • ken Downing June 26, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

        jonty Pritchard hi,left note for you. e-mail kendowning


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