MEMORY LANE: ‘Stricko’ cycled from Grantham to Wales and back – in under 10 hours!

Dave Strickson celebrated his achievement with a swig of bubbly.
Dave Strickson celebrated his achievement with a swig of bubbly.
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Witham Wheelers stalwart Dave Strickson set himself a challenge back in 1989 – to ride from Grantham to the Welsh border and back, in under 12 hours.

And, amazingly, time trial specialist Strickson went on to complete the epic ride in under 10 hours.

He was accompanied by a back-up team, including fellow Wheeler Ken Norton who submitted a report to the Journal.

Strickson left town on his five-speed time trialling bicycle at 7.04am on a Sunday morning and headed out on the A52 to Nottingham, and on to Derby.

Trentham was reached at 10.22am where he turned on to the A34, followed by stretches of the A53 and A51, before picking up the A525 at Woore.

Strickson reached his Clwyd sign target at the Welsh border at 11.50am, having covered 97-plus miles in 4hr 46 min.

Following a short stop for a commemorative photograph and a quick snack, Strickson straddled his steed once more for the return leg.

Norton recorded that the journey home was not so easy and the big man began to struggle on the steeper gradients.

Strickson requested his 12 geared road bike but time was lost inflating tyres.

He was back in Derby by 3pm and the support crew lost track of their charge for a while around Nottingham, with traffic lights not often being in anyone’s favour, plus the back-up guys stopped off to buy a bottle of champagne, with celebrations looking a certainty, barring mishaps.

With home practically in sight, Strickson’s weariness became apparent. Norton noted: “The chain was running further over to the left, pedal revs had dropped to 82 per minute and wheels that had run in line for mile after mile now began to wander. But his determination was still there.”

And the sight of the final climb up the hill to Barrowby must have sent Strickson’s legs to jelly.

But he took it in his stride and re-entered Grantham having covered the 194 miles in 9hr 51min 38sec.

+ Strickson’s ride still stands as a Witham Wheelers club record. Maybe, with today’s technology – aero bars, carbon frames and wheels etc – a challenge could be on the horizon?