AN Olympic heritage and countless hours of enjoyment will be celebrated as Ravensthorpe Cycling Club mark their 120th anniversary this year.
An organisation which pre-dates the Tour de France is still going strong and planning events throughout 2011 to highlight the landmark.
The main feature will be a 120-mile round-trip ride to Sutton Bank in North Yorkshire on June 5, when club members hope to be joined by enthusiasts from across the district.
Club secretary, Kirklees councillor Martyn Bolt, explained other events will be announced in the coming months for the 50-strong membership.
“We are one of the oldest cycling clubs in the area, being founded in 1891, and everyone is looking forward to celebrating our 120th anniversary,” he said.
“The centrepiece will be the 120-mile ride when we would be glad to welcome anyone who wishes to come along.
“We’ll be riding from Mirfield and Ravensthorpe up to Sutton Bank, so it’s fairly flat until Thirsk and then you've got the massive climb before we come back via the plains of York.
“With one mile for every year of the club, we feel it’s a good way to mark the anniversary, but we will be having other events as well.”
Four Olympians are members of the club, with Brian Robinson probably the most famous.
He was the first Briton to compete in the Tour de France in 1955 and also the first to win a stage of the world-famous event.
He competed in the Helsinki Olympics of 1952 alongside his brother, Des, who is also a ‘Thorper’ and winner of the BLRC National Road Race Championship and the Tour of Britain (both in 1955).
Brian’s career as a professional in Europe in the 1950s and 60s paved the way for many of the British greats to follow.
National road race champion Lisa Brambani competed for club and country in the Seoul Olympics of 1988 while Louise Robinson, daughter of Brian, followed in her tyre tracks to win the National Cyclo Cross championships and ride in the Sydney Olympics of 2000.
Albert Hitchen, twice the professional winner of the National Road Race Championship (1963 and 65) and a former national coach, is also a member.
“We are very proud of our history, but we always welcome anyone who wants to get involved in the sport and enjoy their cycling,” added Cllr Bolt.
“Members take part in three rides a week and we also organised time trial championships at 10, 15, 25 and 50 miles.
“The Wednesday ride tends to be a steady 40 miles with a couple of cafe stops, on a Saturday we ride from Ha’penny Bridge at Battyeford for 15 to 18 miles (again with cafe stop) and at 9am each Sunday, we meet at Mirfield Library for the more traditional longer club run.
“We also meet every Thursday for refreshments and a chat and we do have some fantastic support.”
The club are featured in a DVD which is available containing archive footage and history, while they are also planning an exhibition later in the year.
“We would like to hear from any former members who may have memorabilia, items to do with the club or old jerseys which we could display,” added the secretary.
Anyone who can help, or who wants to get involved with the club, should ring 01924 496129.