Oxford University Cycling Club


I became interested in cycling quite late. My early cycling experiences mainly involved long social rides. These were often with Otley CC or on my own. It was the great tradition of the British club run – Cycle all day with about 2 or 3 cafe stops. The main goal was to enjoy cycling – enjoy the Yorkshire Dales and the tea and teacakes of innumerable cafes.

At university, I joined the Oxford University Cycling Club. They were more race oriented so I did one or two local time trials on the bumpy Stadhampton course. I remember doing my first 10 on my trusty Reynolds 501, complete with mudguards and pannier rack. I think I beat a chap called Steve Morse, who had a proper low pro time trial bike. He might have been slightly put out to be beaten by this road bike, but, became a good friend.

With Tom Peel as captain we used to go out every Wed morning at 9am for 60-80 of fast team trial training. I remember we went out pretty much every week during winter and by March we were in pretty good shape. I think I was in the B or C team, I can’t remember now. The A team was people like Jim Henderson, Andy Salmon, Digby Simmons (who sometimes still races) and others. The sadly deceased Dave Ryan was also in the team. Dave Ryan was famous for rushing home from a 80 mile training ride in the Cotswolds, so he could make rowing practise in the afternoon. A great athlete who sadly passed away in a car crash in the US. For quite a few years, Jim and other OUCC members put on the Circuit of the Cotswolds challenge cycle sportive to raise funds for his parents charity.

Before the big event of the university team time trial, I got some kind of injury (repetitive strain injury from writing too many essays perhaps) so I didn’t get to race. That kind of summed up my University days, quite a bit of training, but, no racing. In May, I was supposed to do the Varsity 25 race, but again got injured and so ended up marshalling at some roundabout in Kingston Bagpuize. We lost the Varsity, helped in no part by a certain tester called Michael Hutchinson who beat our best rider by about 5 minutes.

In my second year, I gained the esteemed job of Club treasurer, beating off countless other applicants. This was the year with Nick Pashley as Club captain. Nick was always very enthusiastic about cycling, with a good sense of humour (though I never found his nickname of ‘petlamb’ for me particularly amusing :)  As well as racing and training, the club had a pretty good social scene. I remember meeting in Magdalen college bar quite a few times. I got a buzz just from visiting the famous college.

For some reason, the club was always filled with scientists. Quite a few seemed to have been around for ages, doing several degrees. It was good for club rides,  in my first year, long time member, Tom James, would lead us around the quite lanes of Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds with an encyclopaedic knowledge. Ironically, I now often end up racing against his 70+ Vet father Brian James. Quite often he’s a number 9 and I’m the next number 0 on the Bentley H8 course.

There were some pretty good riders in the club. Jim Henderson was one of the few riders to gain a full blue. More than deserved for his five hill climb championships. I think in one year, OUCC got close to winning the team prize at the National hill climb championships – a pretty impressive achievement for a university club. And who knows, maybe one year, OUCC will have another old boy win the title…

Sadly, in my third year, I got very ill so had to take a year out from university. When I came back to Oxford, it took another six years to get back into cycling. A very long break. But, when I did finally come back, I seemed to get in the flow of racing that never happened as a student.

You sometimes can’t help but think what might have happened, if I didn’t have six or seven years off the bike, but, that’s another story.

I used to have a great photo of the OUCC team outside the Radcliffe Camera. In those day, I grew an afro. (I didn’t cut my hair for two years). Very studenty, I have to say (it’s a shame I can’t find it. These days, I’m more going the way of Graeme Obree (at least in the way of being folically challenged).

In those days, I was known as Richard Pettinger.  I got a new name, Tejvan, from my Guru, Sri Chinmoy in 2006.


  • OUCC alumni

4 Responses to Oxford University Cycling Club

  1. Noze February 2, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Hi there guys, if you fancy some warm weather training , luxury accomodation, superb food, great training facilities and perfect routes, then please take a look at my site.
    Bring your own bike or use our Pinarellos Dogma 60.1

    Would be nice to hear from you

    happy riding
    Director Team Costa Blanca

  2. David October 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Oh, please, please find the afro picture!

  3. velocipede2288 October 16, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    I started late to cycling too. I was 40. But no racing, only touring. But I had seen all the national parks and ridden coat to coast by in the next ten years and cycled end to end at 58.
    At 72 I’m still cycling15 to 20 miles each morning, and the odd 30 or so on a nice day.

  4. tom October 15, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    It would be interesting to hear more about Sri Chinmoy!

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