Fred Fletcher – champion cyclist

Fred Fletcher – champion cyclist

A second Society plaque now adorns the walls of the Sir John Warren in the Market Place commemorating the Ilkeston Bicycle Club and the town’s champion rider, Fred Fletcher.

Fred was born over his father’s chemist shop at 69 Bath Street on 8 August 1869. By 1889 the new ‘safety’ bicycle was fast replacing the penny farthing (the ‘ordinary’ bicycle). That summer the National Cyclists’ Union held its first safeties-only championships at Paddington. There were three distances: One mile, Five Miles and Twenty-five Miles. Riding a Beeston Humber, twenty-year-old Fred Fletcher of the IBC entered and won the Twenty-five Miles race on 20 July (in 1h 16m 13.25s) and the One Mile on 24 August (in 3m 16.5s).

Fred won IBC’s first race, from Trowell to Strelley, in 1887 and went on to win races all over the country for the next five years. Shortly after breaking the Half Mile record on a Raleigh in 1891 (1m 7.25s), he retired from competition to concentrate on his career as a pharmacist.

Fred Fletcher died on 24 June 1947 at Horsley Woodhouse and is buried in Park Cemetery, Ilkeston.

The plaque was unveiled by Fred’s grandson, Giles Fletcher, accompanied by several guests, including members of the Veteran-Cycle Club on period bikes.

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