Ron Hedges (1918 - 2017)

The Ledbury Area Cycle Forum is very grateful for donations made in memory of Ron Hedges (1918 - 2017) from Wellington Heath.

Here are some cycling extracts taken from the funeral address given by his elder daughter, Jean, picking up his life story after his wedding in 1945.

My sister, Ann, was born in Penarth near Cardiff, the home of Mum’s parents. Dad was still working in London so after work on Friday night he cycled to Oxford, Saturday morning onto Gloucester for breakfast, and then stored his bicycle, getting public transport to Penarth. On Sunday he reversed the journey, cycling from Gloucester to Oxford then Monday morning on to London for work.

As a small child, I remember Dad would come along on his bicycle and scoop me up on to the crossbar where I would sit side-saddle surrounded by his warm brown arms and a lovely smell of male sweat and the great outdoors. One day a policeman on a bicycle came towards us. “Oh cripes” said Dad, but the policeman greeted us and cycled on. As soon as we got home Dad set-to making a wooden cycle seat for me with instructions to keep my feet out of the front wheel. We would set off to the allotment with Dad cycling one-handed, holding a hoe alongside the bicycle with his other hand.

Every summer he would disappear on his bicycle to the continent for a few weeks having swotted up on foreign languages during the winter. One summer he returned with a pair of lederhosen, which added to the aroma of bicycle trips until he was persuaded to get rid of them as, being leather, they couldn’t be washed.

Our next move was to Kings Langley which was close enough to London for Dad to cycle to work – 19 miles each way. If it was raining he wore as little as was possible to remain respectable so that it was easier to rub down and change when he got to work.

I think it dawned on me that my father was rather unconventional when he was showing the man next door an ordnance survey map. ‘Why have you marked the map with Hs?’ the man asked. ‘That’s haystacks’ said Dad. Whilst touring the countryside on his bike, Dad would ask the local farmer if he could sleep in his haystack. Of course this had the bonus that at breakfast time the farmer would appear with some fresh milk and 2 eggs.

He got back to cycling following a stroke in 1998, a replacement knee in 2003 and the other in 2005. His last cycle trip, at the age of 94, was over to Colwall to pick blackberries.