South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Ed Sharp

Profile: Ed Sharp - (Sept/Oct 2004)

Like many of us, Ed Sharp enjoyed cycling in his youth and returned to cycling in later years. With a quiet humour well known to his many friends in the C&M and the Wayfarers, Ed says, "I have come full circle, or should it be cycle?"

Ed started cycling early in life. He was aged four when his parents bought him his first tricycle. The gift resulted in expenses for the family as young Ed's training runs up and down the hallway wore out the carpet. Ed's parents brought many good things into his childhood life and with great respect he tells me, "I had good parents". His mother for example guided him into skills such as baking which we are able to enjoy in the form of the very good fruit cake which Ed serves with tea if you visit his home. Cycling was one of the good things to which mother and father introduced their son. The family made many excursions with Ed on his junior cycle - to the River Thames at Laleham, the family allotments and to Staines Lammas. He remembers an ambitious ride he made with his Mum and Dad to Stoke Poges. When he was a teenager in 1950 they bought him a new Raleigh Sports Cycle to enable him to commute to evening classes for his Trainee Draughtsman studies.

The new bike opened up new activities, cycling with a group of old school friends. One big ride for the group was on a Sunday to Hayling Island. He recalls "I stopped at Camberley on the way home and fell asleep. I was shocked to wake up to find it was almost dark". The group of friends later joined the local Feltham RC, riding at weekends, on 10 mile evening time trials and touring at holiday times - 'notorious' Easter Isle of Wight trips and on the Isle of Man during the cycling weeks. In 1960 he toured Spain with two of his club mates. His main memory of the tour was not too happy. "I got a stomach disorder - I found it difficult, not having long trousers and cycle clips". You must ask Ed to explain that joke. It was really a serious matter as diarrhoea was a common problem for tourists in those days. "I was darting in and out of the bushes for a large part of the holiday".

Family responsibilities meant that Ed had to drift away from life with the Feltham RC in order to assist his father who worked as cabinet maker, carpenter and joiner and was now self employed in the building trade. These responsibilities and new interests in the early sixties such as a car and a girlfriend meant that for the next 30 years cycling was restricted to cycling to work. It happened to many of us!

In 1991 he retired from work with contractors W.S. Atkins. Retirement gave him the opportunity to go back to his earlier interests. So he was able to cycle with a former mate from his old club and resume his main hobby of working with wood, a skill due to the influence of his father. In 1995 he started to cycle with the Wayfarers on Wednesdays and later with the C&M on Sundays. These interests have combined to be of benefit to members of our Sections for Ed has made a number of trophies for Midweek and DA events and has carried out special commissions for members. He has for example recently assisted your Editor by polishing a panel of timber cut from a historical tree, the cedar which for many years grew over the Leoni Bridge by the Ponds at Carshalton.

Ed has been on many of the Section tours and with CTC tours - he joined the CTC 8 years ago - to Corsica, Sicily, Spain, France and has joined Hostel trips in the UK and the training camps in Majorca. "I'm getting too old for these fast training rides", says Ed. Reports suggest however that this may not be accurate. Simon Legg tells me that, "on C&M Sunday rides Ed's fearsome sprint finishing has occasionally embarrassed the young tyros of the Cheam and Morden. When Sharp puts down the hammer it stays down!" Ed was in the Peak District for the Birthday Rides, did he find the hills more than equal to those in Majorca?

"I started cycling when I was young, I never expected I would start again in later life."

(Well we are glad you did Ed Sharp or we would not be enjoying the pleasure of your company today. Ed)