At the end of the 19th Century, a young group of boys from Bow and Hackney in the East End of London met for an ambitious ride to Southend – quite some feat given the standard of roads at that time. They met at the Victoria Temperance cafe, right by Victoria Park, so when they formed a cycling club in 1900, naturally it was called “Victoria Cycling Club”.
The club quickly grew, and in 1910 it became one of the founder clubs of the Eastern Counties Cycling Association (ECCA). The early part of the 20th Century was a golden age of cycle racing – for example, in the 1920s Victoria CC alone fielded no fewer than two dozen riders in an ECCA 12 hr time trial.
During WWII Len Clisby ensured the clubs survival, keeping the VCC active until its members returned home. After the war, a club hut was erected close to the one of the clubs time trial courses near Henham, Essex. Over the years, the club hut has been developed to support club life. It functions as a race headquarters, a training venue, and occasionally hosts social functions.
Following WWII, the club underwent major changes. In 1946, VCC allowed membership to women as well as holding its first road race (i.e. as opposed to time trialling against the clock) in 1950. Amazingly, Roy Harrington, a member of the VCC, managed to complete a 25 mile time trial under the hour! Incredible when you consider the quality of the road surface and bikes during this era.
The club, like the sport of cycling itself, experienced several ups and downs during the 1960s and 1970s. However, by the late 1980s the club was back on a firm footing, promoting events and gaining a sponsor for the first time.
Now, in the 21st Century, the club is thriving with seventy members, at least twenty of whom compete regularly in road racing, time trialling and other aspects of cycle sport, and the club has benefitted greatly from gaining its two loyal sponsors