It is with deepest sorrow that we report the passing of club stalwart, John Barnes at the age of 88. On the morning of his death, 13/1/21, John enjoyed his breakfast just as he would have done before any long ride. John was the heart of Reading CC for so many years and these words summarise tributes from members past and present.
John was a founding member of Reading CC and instrumental in realising that the amalgamation of Reading Wheelers and Bon Amis CC to form Reading Cycling Club would help boost cycling and strengthen participation in cycling activities in the Reading area. He had an enduring enthusiasm for all things cycling and its people. John was so dedicated to the sport of cycling and in particular to RCC and its members that he chaired the Club for over 30 years. He was a deputy head teacher and a determined, efficient Chair keeping meetings as short as possible whilst ensuring that Club business was done.
John cycled throughout his adult life and was a constant on club runs. During his younger years much of his cycling was done in the South West and he had many stories to tell, often about climbing up big hills on 17-inch fixed gears. Here in Reading, he could always be relied on to lead a Sunday steady ride, and as he got a bit slower with age, he started a very successful social ride which would circumnavigate any sort of hill. On rides through Windsor Great Park he would relate how he had listened on the radio to the Olympic Road Race in 1948, which was held on a circuit round the park, and this was clearly something that had made a big impression on him as a boy. He was a regular at club time trials for many years, turning up in his pink arm warmers and he also took part in many open events. He was never one of the faster riders, he simply enjoyed taking part in the life of the Club and in cycling activities. He was the first to admit that he wasn’t a speed machine on his bike but that never stopped him turning up and giving it his all. John was also one of those willing people who would always turn out to volunteer at any event the Club promoted.
John retired from teaching in his fifties which gave him more time for cycling and club activities. He was rightly proud that he achieved his 10-mile time trial PB in his sixties. Well into his eighties, John met up with the Sunday club run at Windsor. As he always did, John talked enthusiastically about cycling, asked what everybody was up to and cycled off with a wave.
Above all John was friendly, engaging with a dry sense of humour and always with a twinkle in his eye. He was a genuinely nice man who cared deeply about Reading CC with the Club being a massive part of his and Sheila’s life. He was easy to like but his honesty and commitment earned respect too. He was a true clubman.
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
We will look after your RCC John Barnes