IT was 100 years ago this weekend that an advertisement appeared in the Southend Standard (the Echo’s weekly predecessor) inviting cyclists to join a ride to EppingForest and form a cycling club in Southend.

A century later that club, Southend Wheelers, is still going strong and it is the biggest cycling club in the area.

To celebrate the momentous anniversary Southend Wheelers has an exhibition in the cafe Twenty One Southend, Western Esplanade, showing the many cycling events that have visited the city over the past 100 years.

The exhibition is open to the public from Sunday and will feature information and historical photos documenting the events the club have been involved in.

Echo: Nostalgia - cycling in a bygone age at the Esplanade in 1923Nostalgia - cycling in a bygone age at the Esplanade in 1923 (Image: Southend Wheelers)

Chris Smith, the Southend Wheelers press and social media secretary, and club member Bob Barber, worked together to research the history of the club.The whole club contributed onhow to showcase the historical findings.

“The exhibition celebrates the wonderfulhistoryof SouthendWheelersand all the events the club has been involved in over the last century,” said Chris.

“Many members may not be aware of the club’s history, as well as potential new members, and so it will be great to have the exhibition out there for everyone to see.”

Echo: Looking back - the Milk Race on Southend Seafront in 1961Looking back - the Milk Race on Southend Seafront in 1961 (Image: Southend Wheelers)

One such event took place on June 5, 1961, when stage two of the Milk Race visited Southend.The route thatday was from Nottingham, and it was the longest stage of the tour that year, a staggering and 153 miles and after 6 hours 46 mins the finished in a dramatic sprint along Western Esplanade between Alan Perkins of England, and Valentin Uriona, of Spain, with Perkins winning the stage. Third place wentto Peter Ward.

Echo: Cycling in the past - Southend Seafront in 1923Cycling in the past - Southend Seafront in 1923 (Image: Southend Wheelers)

In May 1964 Kermess racing came to Western Esplanade as part of the town’s Golden Jubilee. It proved to be a success and racing returned in April the following year.

The Milk Race returned in 1977, 1978 (as the Tour of Britain), and 1980.

In 1989 Southend hosted two stages of the then popular town centre cycle racing and the Tour series in 2009 all of which were televised.

Echo: The exhibition - showcasing 100 years of Southend WheelersThe exhibition - showcasing 100 years of Southend Wheelers (Image: Southend Wheelers)

In 2021 the Women’s Tour departed Shoebury and returned to finish along Western Esplanade some 73 miles later.

The exhibition will be on until 30 May and will then move on to the Forum in the city centre, for the month of June.

For further information about the club and its history visit