Woodford Cycle Meet

May 21st 2018
By: Melanie Hollidge

Did you know that there was once an amazing annual cycling event in Woodford called the Woodford Cycle Meet? Back then cycle clubs decorated their bikes and people dressed in fancy dress to have fun and raise money for charity. During half term on Thursday 31st May 2018 between 14:30 – 15:30 at Woodford Green Library, 1 The Broadway, Woodford, IG8 0HL a free event is being run by Redbridge Museum & Heritage Centre.  The free event is a craft session for 4-11yrs, they can find out more about the history of the Woodford Cycle Meet and create their own stunning picture of one of these bikes.

Cycling was one of the first widespread hobbies to emerge in late Victorian Britain, as the prospering labouring and middle classes began to enjoy organised leisure pursuits on a wide scale for the first time. And perhaps one of the biggest local events in the cycling calendar back in the day was The Woodford Meet. It was an annual cycling parade held to raise money for local hospitals - Sports Aid a century plus ago! It was started back in 1882 by the Essex Cycling Club, and continued (with a short break) until 1914, after which it stopped because of the First World War. It was not held again until the year 2000 when a smaller commemorative event was held.

The Meet started when members of cycling clubs and unattached riders would meet at the Castle Inn at Woodford Green and parade through Snaresbrook, Buckhurst Hill, and Chingford.  Newspapers of the time reported that its popularity had grown to such an extent that on one day over 2000 cyclists from 48 cycling clubs took part. 

Who knows perhaps the Woodford cycle Meet could be revived?