Getting to know Jim Hollands

with No Comments

Get to Know Club President Jim Hollands – A tribute by former Chairman Barry Goodsell
To some of us who are a member of Rye & District
Wheelers there is one person who stands above
others within the club. A person whose enthusiasm
for cycling and particularly racing has shaped our
own life upon a bike. A person who almost single-
handedly resurrected a cycling club from extinction
to what you see today on a Captain’s ride in a
January 2019 edition of Cycling Weekly. That person
is Jim Hollands and for me he is Rye Wheelers.
Sunday 17th September 2000 saw half a dozen local
cyclists get together and go for a gentle run from
Rye to Brenzett and then return to the Globe Inn for
refreshments (a pint). This was the first gathering of
Jim’s vision of a revival of Rye & District Wheelers. A
group made up of past Wheelers that included
Mervyn Robbins and Gary Booth, both of whom
were members in the 1950s. They all had a vision of
seeing the cycling club reform for the first time since
1968 but it was Jim Hollands who would truly make it happen.
This was not the first time Jim had been involved in the reforming of the Rye club. In 1956
Jim won an under 18s race at Rye Sports riding for Hastings CC, as Rye was once again
inactive. On that day, he watched San Fairy Ann win the Gasson Team Shield. He and a few
others decided then that one day they would bring the shield back to Rye. So, in 1957 Jim
was part of a Rye Wheelers team that competed not only on the road but also on the grass
track circuit. Finally, in 1964 Jim alongside the Ashdowns, Gary Booth, Bernard Clark,
Richard Wall won the Gasson Shield. The success continued and they went on to win it again
in ’65 and ’66 with Rod Harrow now wearing the Rye jersey.
Fast forward to 2002 and my first ride with Rye Wheelers and of course Jim. I was very much
a recreational cyclist but Jim was soon to change that. His enthusiasm and his real belief
that you can achieve anything if you try, or at least enter is infectious. And so, it was in 2003
that myself and Mark Nash find ourselves entered for the ESCA 100. Jim convinced me that I
could do it and I did. It took me 5 hours but Jim was so proud and that’s how he’s been for
many of us over the years. He has inspired us to do 100 miles, 12 hour and even 10 Rye
Wheelers to take on the 24 Hour in 2011. He’s got club members who had never considered
taking part in a time trial to somehow find themselves on the start line at a Friday evening
10. And as you stood there waiting for your number to be called, Jim would be telling you
Rye was the best club and how fast you would be and not to worry.
The club has evolved from those early days and riders have come and gone. But one
remains and continues to support and enjoy the club runs, that person is of course Jim. I
rarely get the opportunity to ride alongside Jim these days and I do miss that. He was a good
man to learn how to hold a wheel and how to pace yourself. Jim was never fast up the hills
in those days but he would always make sure he was at the front so as not to fall far behind.
He’d then get a wheel and get himself back towards the front and would always have
something left to sprint for the sign.
Rye Wheelers is a unique club with a wide range of social riders and racers. But there’s a
strong social ethos that brings these two groups together. Jim will be the first to say that
there have been many others who have helped shape the club and of course there are. But
it’s a club with a unique feel due to a unique man pushing us all to keep Rye & District
Wheelers the best cycling club in the land. Jim Hollands is that man.

Leave a Reply