30 Days of Biking in the South Pennines

Joining in the fun with #30daysofbiking

Chris Day 18 – a bit of family, local history.


My family are from Halifax originally. My grandfather, Cyril Sands,  owned the bike shop in Sowerby Bridge from the 1940s – 1970s, at a time when cycling was at its peak in the area. He was really well know, and highly regarded in cycling circles. As well as being president of the CTC for the area, his shop was a mecca for cyclist from miles around, and every saturday, big crowds used to meet at his shop, to talk, buy or set off on rides.


Cyril was an adventurer too. At a time when hardly anyone went abroad, he did – riding everywhere from Holland to the Swiss Alps. I have very fond early memories of his shop, from the smell of the rubber tyres and oil, to wandering around in the amazing store room above the shop.

When I was a child, we moved  to Australia, leaving grandparents and cousins etc behind. . From there we lived in different areas (I went to 7 schools!)  then moved back to the UK, Somerset then to North Yorkshire. And somehow, all these years later I have ended up with my office 30 meters away from where Cyrl’s bike shop was. It’s now Deli Belge, and I buy my lunch from there most days!


In honour of my Grandad, who had a huge influence on my life, not least in my love of cycling,  a 1950’s childrens trike bearing his name which a friend found in a skip, hangs from a beam in our office.  Next to it is a picture of the shop from the same period (see above), with Cyril & my dad, David outside. Which sort of makes the circle complete in my eyes.


I also took the badge that was on the trike, and made a screen printed set of t-shirts from it. And they’ve been really popular, probably because (unwittingly I guess!) they bear a striking resemblance to Retro Harley Davidson shirt.


So the past influences the present, and hopefully the present will influence the future. I hope I can leave a cycling legacy for my son too, which would possibly complete the circle one more time.

Oh & I did a lovely ride across the moors today!

3 thoughts on “Chris Day 18 – a bit of family, local history.

  1. This is brilliant Chris. Very touching.

  2. Great nostalgic blog!

  3. Hello,

    My name is John Hoskison. Cyril Sands is a relative of mine through my grandmother, Emily Hannah Sands. I’m writing this from memory, but I think Cyril was the son of Walter Sands, her elder brother. The W is for Wilkinson, I think, which was Cyril’s grandmother’s maiden name. I think Cyril’s brother was also a keen cyclist.

    Best Wishes, John

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