R.I.P. Tich Allen, founder of the VMCC
Titch Allen, founder of the VMCC passed away this week, aged 95. He founded the club 64 years ago, and worked tirelessly to promote the hobby. I think that anybody who has enjoyed old bikes in the last several decades owes something to his efforts, even if you didn’t agree with his strong opinions.
Under his guidance, the club grew to become the largest in the world, currently with over 16,000 members around the globe. In the UK, there are about a dozen club events held every weekend, from grass track racing to sprints, GasLight runs (carbide), timed reliability runs, track events, feet-up trials, etc. They sell brake blocks, books, tires and rims, etc.
Way back when, it was very common for old bikes to be tossed into a dumpster, or given to the recycling man, or even buried in the yard. The VMCC publicized old bikes, and did wonders to help raise awareness of their virtues. As the bikes were saved, they have been passed down to new keepers, like you and I.
To get the fully story, I recommend buying his autobiography “Titch” from the VMCC stores.
A pic from his book, on the Velo Model O.
Graham Rhodes riding Titch around in a sidecar. I’ve always loved this pic of the two of them. From an old edition of the VMCC journal.