Tribute to John Pendleton by Peter Dollery
June ’68 I first met John, or J.P. as he was affectionately known, at the first of many cycling club nights. He was already a leading light in the Noviomagus, a Chichester based club, not racing now but still riding with enthusiasm. Offers of help were soon at hand to anyone about cycle racing and training. It wasn’t long before John had transported you to places and races never heard of before!
Hills were his passion. The more the better. If he couldn’t find you races with them in, then he would organise them. A case in point was the Tour of the South Downs, where over three days John had the riders climbing nearly every hill along the South Downs and sometimes more than once!!
Noviomagus was the first mainland club after the Vectis which John became deeply involved with, becoming a first category rider, then the highest level for an amateur cyclist. He retired from racing when he was thirty-five. John said recently that he regretted that he stopped when he did but in those days it was the norm.
The club, by the way, later evolved into the present Southdown Velo with John still being actively involved.
A private person at heart, John preferred to work and live alone. He had many facets: Cycling; taxi driving; and his family which never really mixed. I had myself known him for some 35 years but still felt I didn’t know him.
Energy and drive for the local grass roots racing was infectious to all that knew him.
Dislikes were few and mainly kept to himself, but some I can say were: Defence spending; TV soaps; and country music. Ooh, also time trialling up and down drag strips. A liberal at heart, John was a member of CND He would read the Guardian and Observer, and was keen on crossword puzzles.
Eating steaks and drinking French red wine were a passion of his. Therefore club nights were mainly to be found in pubs which served good food & beer!
Time spent since his retirement some six years ago, other than cycling, have been occupied on walking, listening to Radio Solent and recording his own film library. Over the last few months John had just completed a fictional book. Its all about a hotel on the IOW in the 40’s and tells of the different people’s stories who stay there.
A nice guy. Yes finally John was an all round nice guy who would never let you down, come rain or shine. I know there are many of us today who owe John a debt of gratitude.