Classic Lightweights UK
Clyde RimplePaul Gittins
Following Tony Bobett’s feature about his days in the Actonia CC, these notes about Clyde Rimple are taken from an article in the 1961 Sporting Cyclist by Roy Day.
Clyde came to the UK in 1958, aged 20, for the Empire Games at Cardiff where the Trinidaian team rode everything except the pursuit. They didn’t win any medals but Clyde learned a lot and decided to stay in the UK where he moved to London, eventually living in Lee Green, and joined Cambrian Wheelers. Working at a job making tea urns he was able to acquire some decent bikes (which going by the photos appear to be Campag equipped Legnano’s) and rode several local races.
(Bryan Clarke points out that the bike Clyde is riding on the cover photograph is in fact an original Grandini as conceived by Pete Benedict and made by Bill Philbrook. The cost was £70.)
Autumn 1959 he enrolled at Woolwich Polytechnic as an engineering student but was still making tea urns when he saw an advert for the RAF which he decided to join. Posted to RAF Locking near Bridgewater, close to the famed ‘Bridgewater Flats’ 25 course he, like a lot of other National Servicemen, was able to race regularly in local and RAF events in which he performed quite well.
In 1960, through the auspices of his camp Sports Officer, he was selected by the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation to represent them in the 1960 Rome Olympics where again he rode everything, road and track, (clocking 1min 16.08secs in the Kilometer TT - a good ride for the day) and became good friends with several of the continental riders and personalities.
Back in the UK he continued to ride for the RAF and was posted to a station ‘within comfortable riding distance of Welwyn stadium’.
The article finishes at this point as it was, at the time, up to date, but I am sure I have read other articles which describe him riding at Paddington and Herne Hill on a regular basis. How long he stayed in the UK – or if he even went back to Trinidad – I don’t know. Perhaps someone else will be able to complete the story of this fascinating character.
Duncan Hall adds:
I came across your web site looking for information about Clyde Rimple, rather strangely I met Clyde yesterday lunchtime.
I'll keep it short: I'd ridden in to Thatcham town centre to go to the bank in my lunch hour. As I neared the cashpoint I was approached by an elderly but spry and engaging gentleman of African origin. He enquired about my interest in cycling and we struck up a conversation. He told me of his achievements, I enquired of his name, and he told me his name is Clyde Rimple and that he was on the cover of the magazine you show on your website! What he told me correlated well enough with your website for him to be genuine. I was sad not to have much time to talk, but I shall look out for him and see if I can catch him again in town...
I learned that Clyde gave up cycling because he ended up working in the oil industry as an engineer and was unable to keep up his riding. I also learned that a frame belonging to Clyde was used by Hugh Porter to win a race, possibly his first major medal or championship, on the track I think. I intend to learn more and will send you what I find.
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