Evelyn Hamilton: A blast from the past – the pre-war pioneer long distance cyclist

Evelyn, being congratulated by Claud Butler (right) after cycling 1000 miles in seven days.

Cycling 1000 miles is no mean feat for anyone, but imagine the challenge of riding it back in 1934.

Evelyn Hamilton became the first British woman to ride into the history books, completing 1000 miles in just seven days. April 3 marks Hamilton’s birthday, so it seems apt we celebrate her achievements.

For those of you not familiar with Evelyn’s exploits, she is best known as the pre-war long distance cyclist and cycle shop proprietor in London. Born on the 3rd April, back in 1906, Eveline Alice Alexandra Bayliss was the youngest of four children.

Growing up as the only female amongst her siblings, she lost her mother at the age of 15. Evelyn, as she preferred to be called, went on to marry John Hamilton and their joint love of cycling pushed them both to develop their competitive careers.

Over the years, Evelyn collected many trophies; in 1931 she won the first women’s half-mile sprint handicap and the Sporting Life trophy at the old Stamford Bridge cinder track. But, it was perhaps her long distance cycling that won her the most coverage.

Due to her success in 1931, Evelyn managed to befriend Claud Butler, the head honcho at the infamous bike manufacturers. Butler was kind enough to sponsor Hamilton on her first epic adventure, cycling 1000 miles in seven days, where Evelyn was in the saddle for just 84 hours.

Such was the success of Evelyn’s 1000-mile cycle adventure, Claud Butler launched a replica bike called the Miss Modern Model in his late-1934 catalogue. I wonder if anyone out there has one?

Claud Butler created a replica of Evelyn’s bike. Britain’s first female geometry bike?

If cycling 1000 miles in just seven days wasn’t enough, just a year later, Evelyn took on the Land’s End to John O’Groats challenge. Completely unstoppable, she managed to cycle the distance of 700 miles in four days.

Over the years she carried on setting records and the pinnacle of her career was when she conquered 10,000 miles in 100 days. In a press release from the finish line, she put forth her reason for the challenge;

To show that women can equal men in physical fitness and endurance!

It’s hard to imagine what she experienced on those heroic journeys, being a female in a completely male dominated world. Just shows what can be achieved with a bit of grit, passion and determination. Needless to say she’s in the top 10 inspirational female cyclists at Total Women’s Cycling.


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.