Sid Ferris

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Sid Ferris
Churchman cigarette card of Sid Ferris.jpg
Personal information
Full name Sidney Herbert Ferris
Nickname "Sid"
Born c.1908
Died August 1993
Spouse(s) 54 years to Eileen (died July 1993)
Children 2 daughters - Pamela and Jennifer
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Long distance
Amateur team(s)
- Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club
Major wins
1930 & 1932 - Vegetarian C&AC team won British Best All-Rounder
1932, 1933, 1934 - North Road 24 hours time-trial
1937 - Record Edinburgh-to-London,
1937 - Record Land's End to John O'Groats
1937 - World record 1,000 miles

Sidney "Sid" Herbert Ferris (c. 1908) was an English long-distance cyclist who broke the records for Edinburgh-to-London, Land's End to John O'Groats, and 1,000 miles in 1937.[1]

Sid Ferris won the North Road 24-hours Time Trial three years in succession and was a member of the winning Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club team in the Best All-rounder Competitions of 1930 and 1932.[1]

His achievements were celebrated in 1937 when Cycling Weekly awarded him his own page in the Golden Book of Cycling.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Sid Ferris' parents ran a cycle business at Hounslow and were reportedly known to the cycling fraternity as 'Mum and Dad Ferris'.[2]

Sid Ferris had only one eye, so he wore a patch over his left eye.[1][3] Sid Ferris was born in Lambeth October 1907. Married Eileen Newman in 1935, they were married for 58 years. They had two daughters Pamela and Jennifer. Sid died in August 1993 ( six weeks after the passing of Eileen.)

Harry Ferris[edit]

Sid's brother Harry (H.E.G.Ferris) ran 'Ferris Cycles', the bicycle shop and frame building business at 220 and 521 Bath Road, Hounslow, Middlesex, and was a successful amateur cyclist for 30 years. In Cycling Magazine, 1952, he advertised sophisticated "low temperature silver brazed" frames. He was known for his own unique designs and shapes. Harry was also a competitive cyclist, in September 1934 he broke the record for the 211 mile 'London-Bath-London' with a ride of 12 hours 2 minutes 23 seconds on his own design/build of tricycle.[4][5]

Harry Ferris competed in solo, tandem and tricycle events from 1928-1959. He won several Gold awards from the 'Charlotteville Cycling Club' (Guildford) mostly for Club Records. Between 1925-1934 he also won Gold Medals from the 'Vegetarian and Athletic Club' including '210 miles on a Tricycle in 12hrs, and London to Bath and back. From 1932/33 Harry won Gold awards from 'South Western Cycling Club' in Solo and Tandem classes, these included a gold 'Southern Roads Medallion' for 12hrs. He won Silver awards from 'The Calleva Road Club', 'Southern Roads', 'Southern Counties Cycling Union', 'Southwest Roads Club', 'Charlotteville' and the 'Vegetarians & Athletic Clubs' among others.[6]


Ferris rode for the Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club from the 1920s.[7]

In 1930 he won the Anerley B.C. 12-hour time-trial with a score of 232 12 miles.[1]

A talented all-round rider, he competed in events from 25 miles to 24 hours. He was a member of the winning Vegetarian team in the Best All-rounder Competitions of 1930 and 1932 and he achieved 11th in the individual classification in 1933. Ferris won the North Road 24 Hours Time Trial three times in succession in 1932, 1933 and 1934.[1][8]

Ferris turned professional in 1936.[7] He was recruited by Raleigh Bicycle Company, along with Bert James and Charles Holland, to regain long distance records and to promote Sturmey-Archer hub gears against the new "continental" derailleur gears.[9]

In June 1937, as a training ride for the Land's End to John O'Groats, Ferris covered the 379 miles from Edinburgh to London in 20 hours 19 minutes, beating the previous record by exactly 1 12 hours. Unfortunately, this record breaking achievement was subsequently not recognised by the R.R.A. because an assistant had broken a rule. (See October below)[1]

His long-distance cycling career peaked in July 1937 when he gained the two longest records on the books of the Road Records Association—the Land's End to John O'Groats and the 1,000 miles—from Australian cyclist Hubert Opperman. Ferris covered the 870 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2 days 6 hours 33 minutes, beating Opperman's time by 2 hours 28 minutes. He continued to complete the 1,000 miles in 2 days 22 hours 45 minutes, 3 hours 7 minutes ahead of Opperman. The ride was completed without sleep. His record stood for 21 years.[1][10]

In October 1937, when Ferris' first Edinburgh-to-London time was disallowed, Raleigh rushed him to Edinburgh on the night train for a second attempt. The prospective long night ride involved a challenge for Ferris' one good eye, which had already been strained on the Land's End to John O'Groats, but his bicycle was fitted with the new Dynohub and he endured 15 hours of darkness to break the R.R.A record.

In 1938 Ferris gained the R.R.A. 24-hour record with a distance of 465.75 miles, (461.75 miles[3]) riding from Edinburgh to the South Coast and demonstrating the qualities of Raleigh's Dynohub.[3][7][9]


In 1937 Ferris' Raleigh bicycle was equipped with Lauterwasser handlebars, and Sturmey Archer AR close ratio, three-speed hub gears, and latterly. the newly invented Raleigh Dynohub. This was the last Land's End to John O'Groats record that was set with hub gears rather than derailleur gears.[10][11][12]


The Golden Book[edit]

Sid Ferris's achievements were celebrated in 1937 when Cycling Weekly awarded him his own page in the Golden Book of Cycling.[1]

Cigarette card[edit]

In 1939 Ferris was celebrated nationally when W.A. & A.C. Churchman issued a cigarette card of him in action. In a series of 50 cards called Kings of Speed, he was featured on card no. 33 titled S.H. Ferris.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "citation in The Golden Book of Cycling - Sid Ferris, 1937.". The Pedal Club. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Time trialling forum - Sid Ferris
  3. ^ a b c d "W.A. & A.C. Churchman's cigarette card. 1939. Kings of Speed, #33 S.H.Ferris". 9 December 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  4. ^ Classic Rendezvous, profile of Harry Ferris
  5. ^ Cycling Magazine 1952
  6. ^ Lawrences Auction Catalogue, Harry Ferris Memorabilia
  7. ^ a b c P Simpson. "History". Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  8. ^ Peter Underwood, Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club. "Speciality Cycling Clubs from the Classic Era". Classic light-weights. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Land's End to John O'Groats". Sheldon Brown. Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Bikeforum, Internal gearing - Profile of Sid Ferris". Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Sturmey Archer heritage". Retrieved 10 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "National Archives, Raleigh of Nottingham, Administrative history". Retrieved 10 March 2011. 


External links[edit]