Eric Daniels Cycling Pages


I started this web site to preserve my Dad’s cycling diary and photograph collection, but that goal has been extended as more information has come to light.

My Dad Thomas (Tom, Tommy) Daniels was born 21st April 1903 and my Mum Mary Peel born 3rd July 1916.  They married on August 1940, and their first son Brian was born 4th July 1941, Alan followed on 3rd January 1945 and finally me, Eric being born 12th July 1946

The travel journal of Mum and Dad’s cycling trips, throughout Yorkshire with the odd excursion to Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, was started in 1942, after the birth of Brian and continued to 1948 embracing the period when both Alan and I were born.  Some of these rides considering the cycles they had and the distances they covered were of epic proportions and 70 years on even equipped with a modern light weight extensively geared bike and all the other modern trappings I would still find some of these trips taxing at best and unachievable at worst.  

This website is targeted at my family but if you do stumble across it please enjoy the accounts of activities of a bygone age and further on accounts of my current activities.

The diary embraces cycle trips from
the first excursion to Burley on 22nd March 1942 to the last entry, the record of a trip to Collingham on 26th September 1948. Records of 91 journeys ranging from 16 to in excess of 100 miles covering about 5,000 miles, are described in detail

The photograph collection covers a period from 1936 to 1953.

Just to highlight major events in this diary, the first ride on 29th March 1942 was with a tandem piloted by Dad, and stoked my Mum, with Brian (aged 8 months) in a sidecar (side chair); this phase of the events ended on October 15th 1944 with a trip to Otley after 69 trips encompassing an astonishing 4,309 miles .

Proceedings recommenced, after a break of 8 months, on June 17th 1945 with the outfit being modified by the addition of a seat on the back of the tandem occupied by Brian now nearly 4yrs, while the side chair was occupied by Alan 5 months.  The inaugural trip with this outfit was 42 miles to Knaresborough.  This phase ended on October14th 1945 after 11 rides with a trip to Otley, after not surprisingly a reduced mileage of 343miles.

After a break of 30 months proc
eedings were once again resumed on 6th June 1948 this time with a new family turnout.  The side chair had been adapted to take two, Alan 3 ½ yrs and Eric 17 months, and Brian very nearly 8yrs on his new solo bike.  This last phase continued for 10 rides and the diary finishes with a ride to Collingham on 26th September 1948 after 241 miles.. 

While the diary covers the years of 1942 to 1948, it is clear that cycling took place both before and after these years.  Nothing is written outside of the diary but the first photograph in the collection was taken in the early part of 1936, and it is not until April 1938 that Mary Peel (later to become Daniels) appears, with what looks like a new bike.  I can only guess that my Dad was cycling with Oulton Road Club (ORC) before 1936, when (I presume) he bought the camera used to take the photographs.  On the pages that follow where possible I have put the photographs on the pages to which they refer.  Those that I cannot identify precisely can be seen in the Photo Album tab.

Back row: Mary, Brian, Tommy - Front row: Alan Eric 1951

It would probably be the case that Mary & Tom met while cycling with Oulton Road Club,  1938 when Tommy was 35 yrs and Mary 21yrs.

While doing the research for this article it crossed my mind that Dad would have had little information to work with when planning his journeys.  In 1942 we he was not privileged to have the use of Internet, libraries, plastic bags, lightweight bikes and all the other modern trappings of cycling.  Dad to the best of my knowledge had one map, a Bartholomews Half inch map that must have been sheet 6 ‘Harrogate’, often referred to in the diary as ‘the half inch’.  He also had three volumes from the Arthur Mee’s Kings England series, Yorkshire West Riding, Yorkshire North Riding, and Yorkshire East Riding with York.  I have managed to obtain used copies of all four of these publications, which are my constant companion as I research and try to understand the trips.
All these trips with perhaps the exception of two or three started from our Home in Temperance Terrace (now Claremont Street) in Oulton, or from the Oulton Road Club hut a matter of a few hundred yards from home, opposite the Midland Hotel on Aberford Road in Woodlesford.

While the Colingham trip dated  26th September 1948 was the last entry in the diary, it was not the last ride with the family outfit of Tom & Mary and their three boys, as the eldest boy Brian now recalls
“The last trip we ever took with one of you (Alan) on the back child’s seat of the tandem, the other of you (Eric) in the sidecar and me on my fairy bike headed out towards Hook Moore. Just beyond Garforth the road goes over a hump-backed bridge. At the very top of this hump Mam’s handle bars broke loose from the stem. The whole kit and caboodle came crashing to the ground. Everyone was very shaken. Dad found a nearby garage that was able to weld the handlebars back together – but that was the last trip they took” - “Eventually the tandem went onto the horse drawn cart of the rag-and-bone man”
And indeed that was not the last of the cycling altogether, since Tommy rode with both Alan and Eric from about 1956 up to probably 1958 or 59 on many of the routes that appear in the diary, with the highlight of the year being the annual trip to York, which I remember finding quite difficult, but exciting nevertheless, and I always remember the excitement on getting on the A64 at Tadcaster to York which was the only dual carriageway I had ever seen, and more so because besides being a dual carriageway it had both a footpath and a cycle path on both sides of the road.ORC.html,+Oulton,+Leeds,+West+Yorkshire+LS26/@53.7790182,-1.4558345,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48795d344aa780e1:0x389eec6bb9b113b7?hl=en,+Oulton,+Leeds,+West+Yorkshire+LS26/@53.7790182,-1.4558345,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48795d344aa780e1:0x389eec6bb9b113b7?hl=en,+Oulton,+Leeds,+West+Yorkshire+LS26/@53.7790182,-1.4558345,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48795d344aa780e1:0x389eec6bb9b113b7?hl=enshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3
Ensign 120 film camera, the one used to take all the photographs.  Note this camera utilises a waist level finder, whereas modern cameras are used from eye level.  Hence all the old photos on this site are taken from a lower viewpoint than we expect today.
Mary Peel (later Daniels) 3rd from left. 
Louth, Licolnshire April 1938

Last updated: 16 Jun 2015