History of Gala Cycling Club
The first Gala Cycling club originated in 1860 on 1st July, It was called the Gala Water Bicycle Club. It became quite popular, raising the profile of cycling in the town of Galashiels. In August 1884 Gala Waverly Cycling Club was formed. This was described as a working man’s cycling club, the former being mainly made up of business men. However both clubs worked well together hosting inter- club runs successfully. The Gala Water Bicycle Club changed its name in 1887 to the Galashiels Cyclists’ Club.
With the introduction of J. K. Stanley’s ‘ Rover’ ‘safety’ bicycle in 1885 and John Boyd Dunlop’s pneumatic tyre in 1888 cycling increased greatly. A number of Gala riders won competitions in the Borders and Edinburgh.
From 1892 till 1894 a third Gala cycling club called the Gala Abbotsford existed. This was formed by J.D. Lumsden, a professional rider from Aberdeen, however the club ceased to exist on his return to his home town.
In the nineties women took up cycling, however this opportunity was not taken up by the local townswomen.
The end of the nineteenth century saw a decline in cycling due to the rise in motoring. This seemed to affect the Gala Cycling Club more than the Waverly Club, possibly due to financial positions of members within the club. Gala Cycling Club was dissolved in March 1908, however it was reinstated four weeks later by a new committee which included several women and a few members of the original club.
The new Gala Club flourished offering afternoon, evening and one-day runs. It lasted till the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, when organised cycling came to sudden halt.
In March 1926 a new Gala Cycling Club was formed in the Red Triangle Club, which became the headquarters; the club was named the Knights of the Wheel CC. When the Braw Lads’ Gathering was held for the first time in1930 the sports included several cycling events. The calibre of the riders discouraged newcomers who could not keep up with the pace of the members..In March 1931 the club was reconstructed as Gala Cycling Club encouraging all riders including ladies. Social activities were revived and hostelling weekends introduced. More modern, lightweight bicycles were in use, roads improved, faster speeds and longer distances were possible.
During the Second World War, 1935 – 1945, all Border clubs suspended activities though the clubs did not disappear. In 1946 there was a reunion, run by some Gala CC enthusiasts, and in May 1947 the club was re-established. The following year the club split into two, a touring section and a racing section.
During the recession of the sixties and seventies cycling declined again; it was mainly social events which held the club together. In 1976 there was an increase in the activities of racing members with many competing in open events. The revival and interest continues to present day. The club is once again flourishing, with new riders from young to old coming to the fold. The club holds several open events, (John Fairbairn Memorial, Jimmy Rae Memorial, Borders trophy and the Gordon Arms) time trials, training sessions and an annual Baw Breaker Sportive each year. Regular meetings are held; promoting and advertising the club has reaped its rewards. New kit, designed and based on original Gala Colours, is being worn once again. Social events are in place and once again Gala CC is making the headlines.