‘The Duke of Edinburgh’s security team wouldn’t let him ride our tandem...’
- Credit: Supplied by Colin Bedford
A founding member of the March Veteran and Vintage Cycle Club has shared his memories of meeting The Duke of Edinburgh at the opening of a new cycle scheme in Cambridge.
Colin Bedford said it was a huge honour to meet the Duke, who showed a genuine interest in the variety of historic bikes members had taken along for the royal event in 2004.
After he officially opened the new cycleway near Marshalls Airport, members of the vintage cycle club were then the first to ride the new route. The Duke even waved them off as they left.
Colin said: “The Duke of Edinburgh told us he had never ridden a tandem before and we had taken along our Raleigh tandem from the early 1900s.
“He even hopped on the back and was tempted to join me on the route – but the royal security team wouldn’t let him ride off with me.
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“They thought it was too risky because they didn’t really know who I was!”
And, as always, the club's members were dressed in the appropriate period costume for each bike’s era.
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He added: “We had taken a selection of bikes to the event, and The Duke of Edinburgh was very interested in each and every one of them.
"For example, we also had a penny farthing and an 1890 solid tyre safety bicycle with us. He wanted to know how you got on a penny farthing and asked all about the mechanics of the bikes.
“One belonged to the Rev Peyton-Burberry, the former parson of St Mary’s Church in March. When we told the Duke that the reverend also used to be in the navy, you could see how he instantly wanted to know more about him and his bike.”
Colin also said what made the day extra special was his late wife Margaret, who was riding the tandem with him, was also there.
After the cyclists completed the new route, members from the vintage cycle club were even invited to stay for the buffet lunch organised for the Duke and other dignitaries by Cambridgeshire County Council. There, he continued to mingle with all the attendees and asked further questions.
When Colin heard of the Duke's passing on Friday, he said it had been such an honour to meet him.
“You never forget a day like that in your life,” he added.