Events and Courses

Tom Simpson – Cycling Legends talk and book launch

Thursday 4th April 2019 6pm – 9pm


Who is Tom Simpson?

Tom Simpson is still the best ever British single-day race rider. He was the first to win one of the five biggest single-day races, called the monuments of the sport, and the first to win the world professional road race title. So far only Mark Cavendish has repeated these two feats, but where Cavendish’s only monument win is Milan-San Remo, Simpson won three.

In stage races Simpson was the first British cyclist ever to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. He did it in 1962, when he finished 6th overall. He was the first British cyclist to win Paris-Nice, and he won two stages in the Vuelta a España.

Loved in Europe for his charm and fighting spirit, by 1965 Simpson’s profile was so high in his home country that he became the first cyclist to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Summing up Simpson the cyclist, Sir Bradley Wiggins wrote in his book ‘Icons’ recently:- “The odds against him winning the Tour of Flanders when he did, at the age of 23, were colossal. Add in Milan-San Remo, his masterpiece Tour of Lombardy, his world road race title, Paris-Nice and the rest, and you have arguably the most complete British road racer of all time. Cavendish was –and still is- a better sprinter, I was a much better time triallist, and Tom couldn’t climb like Robert Millar. However, none of us could have won so many big, important and widely diverse races, and it’s unlikely anybody else will.”

One race eluded Simpson, though, despite repeated efforts to win it. That was the Tour de France, in which he had constant bad luck, with crashes and illness affecting his performance or putting him out. His desire to win it never dimmed, and in 1967 that desire cost him his life.

The Tom Simpson talk.

Delivered by the journalist and writer, author of 20 books on cycling and 1000s of articles over the last 15 years, Chris Sidwells, who is also Tom Simpson’s nephew, the talk tells Simpson’s story from his birth in the north-east of England, though Olympic bronze at the age of 19, to his rapid rise through the ranks of European pro cycling to become one of the best cyclists in the world.

It’s a story of adventure, ambition, success and ultimately tragedy, but it’s also a love story, a story of a charming man who won a place in people’s hearts so big that he still badly missed by many who knew him today.

The talk also introduces and presents Chris Sidwells’ latest book, Cycling Legends 01 Tom Simpson, which will be available to all who attend at a discounted price. Chris will also bring the bike Simpson won Paris-Nice on in 1967, as well as one of Simpson’s rainbow jerseys.

Cycling Legends 01 Tom Simpson

Cycling Legends 01 Tom Simpson is an intimate portrait and a celebration of Tom Simpson’s life. Written by Chris Sidwells, the Simpson story is told in unprecedented detail by his family, friends, rivals, team-mates and managers. The book is lavishly illustrated with 167 black and white and coloured photographs, 50 of which have never been published before. They work with the text to tell Simpson’s story in greater depth than it has ever been told before, it is the ultimate Tom Simpson biography.


Basic Roadside Repair Course – 24th March 2019 2pm – 4pm


A participation workshop teaching you how to deal with common problems that can occur with your bicycle whilst out on a ride plus pre ride checks be sure your bike is safe and roadworthy.

Worried about how you’d get home if you punctured, your chain broke or your brakes failed? Our resident mechanic, Gerard, is running a basic workshop to show you how to get out of trouble. Aimed at beginners and less experienced road cyclists or commuters. Bring your own bike along and we’ll teach you how to change tubes, mend a chain and adjust your brakes and do a road worthiness check.

Price is £11 which also includes a hot drink or cold soft drink. Please book via Eventbrite link or pay in the cafe prior to the event. Places are limited: first come first served.