What was a ‘drum-up’

Here’s another long overdue post. I haven’t actually referenced the name of this blog yet- it used to be called ‘Owen P blog’ or something equally forgettable, and I needed a name that connected with Scottish Cycling so eventually settled on The Drum-Up.

An article in the Glasgow Herald last year revelled in the memories of the golden days of the drum-up, and the plethora of cycling clubs around Scotland. People would ride out to a quiet spot, light up a fire and brew up tea and soup. The Herald article covers the era far better than I can, since I have never seen one or been on one – click through to find out more.

They talk of lighting campfires on the shores of Loch Lomond, where smoke could once be seen rising from a dozen such “drum-ups” of a weekend. Sunday night meant a return home for work the next day – and if you were slow packing up, the rival clubs would ring their bells as they passed, challenging you to send out your best men for the weekend’s finale. The groups would start to cluster on the road, and with the first lights coming on at the edge of the city, the unofficial race, or habble, began.

The pic below was uploaded by a guy called Robert – Paris-Roubaix on flickr, and shows a Chryston Wheelers drum-up. He has some great old Scottish Cycling photos on flickr. There’s more material for me to blog there but if you click the pic above you can discover for yourself, or check out a couple of Chryston Wheelers pics from the 1960s.

Chryston Wheelers Drum-up

1960s photo of some of the North Lanarkshire cycling club members having a drum-up at the top of the Hailey Brae, near Largs, during a club run. These were simpler days with a fire, home-made billy-cans and ex-US Army dixies. No lycra or trade jerseys in sight and nobody wore club jerseys unless racing. L/R: (?), Benny Zimmerman, Mick McCormick, Dougie Melrose and Rab Allan.

There’s a bit more reminiscing on the Bravehart Fund forums. So that’s the drum-up. I think there should be the occasional revival- they are a unique part of Scottish cycling history and culture and shouldn’t be allowed to die!