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16 October 2014
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The Cyclist Touring Club

This club was started in 1878 and was perhaps the biggest cycling club in the world.

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Article by Brian Willis.

Mourne bus

Look carefully at the above photograph of the Kilkeel Bus Company and you will see, mounted on the wall behind the bus, the logo of the Cyclist Touring Club.

CTC logo in Kilkeel
This is the same logo, overpainted, still on the same wall in Kilkeel today.

This club was started in 1878 and was perhaps the biggest cycling club in the world. (I used to belong!) It really came into it's own in the hey day of cycling in the 1930's 40's and 50's. It was a UK wide organisation with local groups spread under its umbrella. This was the era when clubs of , say, forty cyclists would set off for a fortnight's holiday, riding two abreast in quite a tight bunch (an awesome sight to see if streaming towards you down hill at speed - bit like the Tour-de-France but no Lycra, as everyone wore especially made cycling plus-fours).

They would stop at hotels or cafe's en route which sported the CTC logo where I think special rates had been negotiated by the club.

CTC logo, Distillers' Arms, Bushmills
CTC logo, Bushmills

No village or town was complete without its CTC venue and one can still occasionally find the CTC logo mounted on older buildings throughout the province. The newly restored restaurant in Bushmills, which is now called the Distillers' Arms, has one such sign on its frontage. In fact I understand it was a planning requirement that this badge be retained. What a pity it is mounted upside down!

Are there any more CTC logos mounted on the walls of towns and village hotels/pubs in Ulster? Perhaps you could let us know.

CTC logo, in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Adam Johnston sent in the above picture of a CTC logo which he found, perhaps not surprisingly, on the wall of a bicycle repair shop in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra.


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