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Historic cycling club preserves its archive to illustrate the changing face of the sport

The self-confessed cycling addict from Horwich Cycling Club, Tom Maher, has helped to preserve its long history by digitalising its collection of black and white, paper photographs from the 40s up to the colour images of the 90s.

The club was established in 1934 and the collection of photographs of its events and members go back to just after World War Two. Tom, who moved to the area in 2014, became the custodian of the archive which were originally kept in ring binders, as well as loose and photographs glued onto paper backgrounds.

“I thought it could only take a house fire, a flood or a little carelessness such as someone moving on and taking the photographs with them that the long history would be lost. We wanted to keep the pictures for future generations and club members past and present,” said Tom.

“Today, we have people riding modern road bikes, cyclo-cross bikes, mountain bikes, time trial bikes, hybrids and e-bikes. In the past we have pictures of members on older road bikes, but also on the famous Penny Farthings, as well as tricycles and tandems."

“We have photographs of members wearing bow ties and suits while riding and even some wearing top hats – it was a very different world and has shed a big light onto how the sport has changed so much.”

But Tom added that the idea was also about the events, presentations and the characters involved over the years. This included the club’s yearly festival of racing, when the town centre was closed off and there was a series of racing over a weekend in June, featuring the Penny Farthings and recumbents.

He explained he first thought he could use a mobile phone photo scanning app and do it himself but realised the process would be too time consuming and not as professional, so he searched online.

“I found reLOVE Photos and spoke to the owner about what we had and what we needed. They were able to do the loose pics as well as the albums and those stuck on paper backgrounds with descriptions of the particular event,” added Tom.

reLOVE Photos scans paper photos into digital format which are then made available in a cloud gallery for owners to share online. They send you the box in which to put the photographs via a secure courier, with postage labels and you can specify if you want to keep the precious originals and they will be returned the same way.

As the photographs can be shared online, they can be shared with chosen family and friends all over the world. They are in a digital folder with a link to where all the photos are stored, as well as on a memory stick if required.

Tom, 43, has been cycling since he was a child and became hooked on the sport after receiving a mountain bike for his 12th birthday, says he intends to carry on as long as possible due to all its health benefits. But he also added that digitalising the history of the club has secured a precious safety net for its past, as well as its future.


With thanks to Horwich Cycling Club


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