‘Wayfarer’, our scribe, and perhaps the most popular – certainly the best known – cyclist in England, is making his second appearance in Bolton tonight. Tom and his friend came over from Manchester, and leaving the bikes at home, walked down to the YMCA premises in Deansgate. The hall rapidly filled, Tom capturing a seat for me, whilst I sold tickets outside. Scores of cyclists rolled up, on their lightweights, which type of machine constituted quite 90% of the total. At 7.45, the chair was taken by Mr E D Haslam, who opened the lecture.
In the first part, ‘Wayfarer’ enlarged on the open road, its charm and magic, its significance, the Road as a testing ground for character and a teacher of philosophy, the part it plays in our life, the wonderful enthusiasm of ‘real’ cyclists, and the ‘motor peril’. The whole was plentifully illustrated with memoirs, and touches of humour, and he quoted many appropriate verses.
The second part was the best, and lantern slides came into use. Much amusement was caused by many of the first slides being put in upside down and sideways. First we got a few of the Wirral and some of our favourite day-ride county – Cheshire. The one of Moreton Old Hall raised much admiration. Then came Wales, and we came into our own (Tom and I know North Wales!). That little track leading to Loggerheads, the old Ruthin road, Moel Fammau and the view from its summit brought back forcibly our ride of July 20. The Crown Inn at Llandegla, the Horseshoe Pass, Valle Crucis, more memories. Then Lake Bala, Dolgellau, Tal-y-Llyn, the Mawddach, Harlech Castle, the insuperable, amazing beauty of Aberglaslyn Pass, Llyn Gwynant and Beddgelert, all recognised. Now came those two passes of everlasting memory, of wild, rugged, incomparable grandeur, the slides of which raised a cry of admiration – Nant Ffrancon and Llanberis Pass, with views of Snowdon, Llyns Ogwen, Idwal, Peris and Cwm Glas. The rocky, precipitous Glyders, and Moel Siabod (from the right side!), Capel Curig, Swallow Falls, glorious Bettws and the Conway valley, (A Midsummer Nights Dream – see June 21), all memories to me. Then Ffestiniog, Dolwyddelan, Cader Idris, and Central Wales. Came Warwickshire, the Lakes, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, the North – and the South. Then some pictures of our racing men (handclaps) and ‘Wayfarer’ ended by describing immortal Meriden. He also gave slides of Ireland, the Wye valley and Shakespeare-land.
Oh, to get back to Wales! The lecture was an immense success. Bolton must have gasped to see so many cyclists leaving Deansgate. Tom came back to the house, and only left our place after midnight