Sunday, 15 March 2015

Inspiration of Albert Winstanley

Inspiration of Albert Winstanley

Having just received from John Mann a copy of the ‘old’ Cycling World I am moved to write a bit about one of the magazines longest and prolific contributor, our own Albert Winstanley. I claim Albert as, ‘our own’, because of his long association with Bolton clarion. 
The newer reincarnation of Cycling World bears little resemblance to the magazine of old that went into liquidation, a failing of this chronicle, with it’s huge popularity was and still is a mystery.
The article that inspired me to write this bit of Winstanley, was the writing within of a weekend in Slaidburn.
John, for so long a cycling companion of Albert, along with Mike Ball, has amassed a huge collection of the old magazines, particularly the ones featuring the wanderings of Albert, each of these has a sticker on the back simply saying, Albert.
Albert’s particular contribution in this edition dealt with his investigation, after musing an article concerning the ‘centre of England’ and the popular attraction to cyclists of Meriden and its war memorial to cyclists.
After perusing ‘Great Britain’, Albert found the centre to be one of his favourite haunts, Dunsop Bridge. Now any cyclist from Bolton worth his salt will have been through, by, or visited Dunsop Bridge, it is a point of importance from day rides over the ever popular Trough of Bowland and our latter day 200 kilometre reliability ride. The village will feature also on the very popular Lands End to John O’ Groats route that so often leads to an overnight stay a little further up the dale at Slaidburn.
Albert, John and Mike took to a circuit around the centre of Great Britain that would be well known to the ‘Rough stuff Fellowship’ members, and indeed to myself, though not a member of that organisation.
The article includes photos, black and white, that capture the beauty and the endurance of the landscape, and his faithful companions.
Inside the pages of this much missed publication are articles by other contributors, like Albert lovers of the byways of our wonderful country, all conversant with areas of beauty and interest in their particular domain.
Where Albert Winstanley seemed to stand out from the rest, was his seeming ability to be at home wherever he wandered around the British Isles.
John Mann provided the key to Albert’s in depth knowledge of the history, quaintness and oddities of wherever he cycled, that ‘Key’ was the library. Albert it seems spent many hours researching places of interest he was to imminently visit, initially that interest may have been sparked reading the many publications he was contributing to. Albert’s interest were wide and varied and somehow he managed to pull them altogether to produce cycling articles of great beauty, an avid reader will note that poetry and music will be regularly introduced, albeit with subtlety that enhances his sense of prose.
I would add though my actual rides with Albert have been sparse, but never forgotten, I have been every inch of the way with him immersed in his books and magazine articles.

I believe Albert will continue to inspire cycling and cyclists, his legacy to collectors of cycling memorabilia, books magazines and photos will also ensure his place in cyclings history.

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