A Cyclists Tea Stop – Teeside 1936

A Cyclists Haven.

It stands hard by a main  highway, where the fast noisy traffic disturbs the peace of the village and leaves a reek in the air.   Alongside a river of slower moving  bicycles and kindred things, countless footsteps travels in harmony.    It is just an unpretentious little bungalow cabin.  Seasoned green, it perches on a mound with steps from the balcony to the pavement below.

At the rear, cycles are stacked in a careless manner.  There are always club folk out here yarning and arguing, as club folk do.  Especially on weekends and Wednesdays.   Immediately we go inside we are in the midst of congenial cycling company The chairs are probably bagged.  But there are benches and when a cold snap is on, you can if you have a mind and have not been forestalled, take your place around the stove.  There are tables in abundance.  On the wall are pictures and etchings of the ‘toon’ (town) on the Tyne and caricatures of the fast men of the north east.

In the far corner stands a piano. More often than not some visiting cyclist will knock out  a catchy tune, immediately taken up by the lads.  Then the roof will soon be lifting with song  Some will be talking shop gears, positions and tales of the road.  Some discussing weekend plans or arranging a tour.  Some debating racing form.  Others will be sipping tea and listening.  Or perhaps tapping with their toes to the lilt of the lively music.  For it is always lively stuff they serve up here.

If it could break its silence, what stories that piano could tell of the many fingers that have tapped it into harmony (of sorts). and the bursts of songs that follows.  In winter a welcome of a hot drink, in summer a grapefruit or lemon for the weary wanderer can obtain here to sip in cheery company.

A night to remember

Well I remember one night when Jill and I entered.  A strange silence hung about the room.  Then we saw that most of the lads had gone.  The hour was late.  But there were still a few clustered around the piano.  As we gave our order a famous speedster breaking into song set the piano alive to harmonious accompaniment.  Two or three of his club mates came in and soon the full chorus was ringing out filling the room.  And good stuff it was too.  Twenty minutes did Jill and I linger in that almost empty room before trooping out into the darkness for the homeward run.

What would we do without it?  Do you ever realise what a place it has in your heart.  Think if you can of a cheerier spot. Of one that is nearly your own.  And it stands hard by a main highway.  A little unpretentious bungalow cabin of seasoned green that winks at you as you ride past.   THE IDLER.

Acknowledged source:- CTC Monthly Gazette March 1936

Related:-  Such a wayside treasure for cyclists survives on the Wirral peninsula at Two Mills  EUREKA! (see the video in this link – excellent)