Above: Arthur with his green Carlton, a favourite machine throughout the 1960s and 70s
As proven on other pages in this site the RRA was an expensive machine in 1948. This has led to its modern day rarity as it was only made in small numbers due to its cost.
My suspicion (unfortunately I will never know) is that this machine may have originally belonged to my uncle Arthur, my Dads brother.
Some 13 years separated Arthur to Dad- Arthur would have been in a position to buy the RRA.
However, with the help of Tricia and Ray (my cousins) I have not managed to conclusively prove that this is the case, although I have photographs of my Dad riding the RRA in about 1950.
When I spoke to Tricia, my cousin, she told me that Dad was always borrowing Arthur’s cycles at this time!
Arthur was the keenest cyclist of the three brothers, and indeed cycled through his whole life.
I met up with Tricia and Ray recently. Ray kindly provided a potted history of his father’s cycling history which is reproduced below:
A Tribute to the Life of Arthur Ambrose Head 31st August 1915 – 26th February 2008
Arthur joined his local club, the Allerton Wheelers in the early 1930’s, together with his elder brother, Charlie and Arthur’s best friend, Eric Martin.
In 1937 they had a minor falling out with the local club and all three transferred to the Wirral section of the CTC before moving to the Mersey Roads Club (MRC) later the same year. Arthur remained with the MRC right through his cycling career and up until his death at the age of 92, as the last surviving MRC-member from the pre-1939 era.
Arthur’s racing career was exclusively time-trialling and in his first season, 1937/38, with MRC he recorded 1.07 for 25 miles, 2.18 for 50 miles, 5.10 for 100 miles as well as 212 miles for the 12 hr, all of which resulted in silver and bronze medals which the family still retain.
He continued his racing career into the 1950’s, and indeed achieved his best performances riding several 12hr & one 24 hr.
For the ‘24’ he recorded 397 miles, a bronze medal but only 3 miles short of achieving a silver.
In 1960 he was MRC club championship runner-up with an average speed of 20.7 mph over the whole year.
He was heavily involved with the early years of the MRC’s Cadet System: it was recorded in their magazine, “The Record”, that Arthur Head is very bucked that the “25” was won by a Cadet and the best “25” for the year is 1.07.41 by Cadet Reg Chandler.
Like other young men of his era at the outbreak of 1939/45 war he was drafted into the army serving for the duration of the hostility.
Towards the end of the war while still in the army he married Kathleen and they had a son (Ray) & daughter (Tricia). He spent his subsequent working life as a dental technician.
He was elected Chairman of the 24 hour sub-committee and served for many years, helping the event secretaries from Bob Coward through to Dave Stapleton.
For all those years his main transport was a motorbike & sidecar and many younger members from those happy days will have fond memories of lifts to events and being transported to the remote marshalling locations for the 24hr and other long distance events when there were few cars about.
Later the annual excursion to marshal during the 24hr at Shawbury plus Hargrave (near Waverton) canal bridge developed into a family tradition.
Arthur was a founder member of the Veterans Time Trial Association Merseyside Group in 1962, and enjoyed the time spent on club runs with the members of his own generation.
In 1963 he took his young family on an ‘adventure’, cycling the Rhine Valley from Koblenz down to Heidelberg on the River Neckar and back, totalling about 250 miles.
Through the late 1960’s into the early 1970’s he would also lead ‘Sunday cycling tours’, made up of a few fellow cyclists and his son and school friends, into the Cheshire and North Wales countryside.
He continued to support the MRC until he had to give up driving & cycling, but his son would bring him out as a spectator to the 24hr.
John Williams would arrange to pick up Arthur and Dave Stapleton and transport them to the West Cheshire TTCA annual luncheon at the Heatherlands, which provided them with many opportunities for nostalgic recollections.
For many hears Arthur tended the churchyard at their local church, in his latter years confusion and dementia did restrict his activity, and it was only a few weeks prior to his death that he had to move into a care home.