Our club was established in 1892 and formally known as the Ipswich Stoke Rovers until 1922. There was a Ipswich Bicycle Club formed in 1887 and together with about 5 other clubs reigned for several years but one by one they fell by the wayside. The Stoke Rovers originally formed by W. A. Blofield was the only to survive and is the founding club of the current IBC – there still exists a trophy to his memory. The club changed its name to Ipswich Bicycle Club in 1924 and at the time incorporated the Borough coat-of-arms into the club badge.
Walter Blofield was the first secretary of the then forty strong club and was church warden at St Mary’s Church at Stoke. Not surprisingly, the club had strong connections with the church and met in the Parish room in Stoke Street, with the rectors of Stoke holding the post of President for many years. Cycling club runs and other activities were confined to Saturdays – no Sunday activities unless there wasn’t a church parade. After the club became repeatedly invited to interclub events on Sundays a proposal was put forward to allow Sunday events. This was passed with a large majority, however Mr Blofield was furious and tendered his resignation if the vote was not reversed. He was held in such high esteem within the club that was done.
It was only after the death of Walter Blofield six months later that the club took up Sunday cycling and drifted away from the church and the rectors of Stoke ceased to be presidents of the club. From that time on the club drifted away from the church and there were no more rector presidents. The first non-rector president, elected in 1914, was Capt John Ganzoni, later to become Sir John Ganzoni M.P. for Ipswich. Over the years any well known Ipswich family names such as Croydon, Revitt, Pinch and Blofield have been recorded as members in the minutes.
During the 1930s, the National Cyclists Union produced figures of its member clubs with Ipswich BC shown to be one of the largest clubs in the Eastern area with over 120 members. These members competed at all disciplines and could regularly be seen on the track at Herne Hill, London. Club members also enjoyed success at grass track meetings held at the various horticultural shows around East Anglia in addition to regular victories at Portman Rd where Ipswich Harriers had a track.
Over the years the activities of IBC members have often achieved press coverage. In 1954 Carl Tooke, then 21, took up a bet from a friend that he couldn’t cycle 244 miles from Ipswich to Dolgelly in less than 17 hours . Carl’s first unsupported attempt failed when his gears broke in Birmingham, but he was successful on his second attempt and took a greeting message from the Mayor of Ipswich to the Chairman of the Council at Dolgelly. The return ride the following day took only 16 hours! His nephew Barry was active until 2000 when work took him from the region, but he has kept up the family tradition for mile-eating since he still holds the club 100 mile and ‘Ipswich to Norwich and back’ time-trial records.
Carl passed away in 1981 but there is a club trophy in memory which each year is awarded to the best veteran rider within the club. Annually we award 33 club trophies to our members for both racing and non-racing activities. The oldest is the James Cup which was originally raced for over 800 yards on Penny Farthings at Portman Rd – now the site of Ipswich Town Football Club. During the war years most members were called up for active service and we were unfortunate to loose two members. Each year the club’s Best Time Trial All-rounder is awarded the King Winter Memorial Trophy to their memory.
In 1992 the club celebrated its centenary year by promoting a 100 mile time trial together with a dinner held at the Novotel, Ipswich attended by the Mayoress of Ipswich.
The club sadly lost one its older racing members, Mick Staley, in 1999.