The Vegetarian Cycling and Athletic Club began in 1887 and was formally
founded in 1888 as the Vegetarian Cycling Club - the first President being
the ubiquitous Mr Arnold Hills.
'and athletic' was added in 1909.
VCAC is still flourishing today and is, as far as we know, the second
oldest contiuously operating vegetarian organisation in the world.
From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), August 1888,
Cycling. - It is proposed to from a London Vegetarian Cyclist's Club.
Qualifications: Abstinence from flesh-food and riding a machine.
Objects: To collect (and diffuse) information concerning the
number and doings of akreophagist cyclists in all parts of the country,
and to arrange runs in congenial society for local members (London.
S.E.). Badge: Small silver letters, "V.C.C." It will
be ready shortly; device, cost about 3d. per set. No subscription will
be necessary if the editor of V.M. and other kindred journals
will kindly insert notices as required. Any necessary trifling expenses
are to be borne by the hon. sec. or any who voluntarily help. It is
suggested to hold runs monthly on Saturday afternoons, alternately with
shorter trips by moonlight on some other evening monthly. Picnicing
in suitable places is recommended, with, if necessary, a tea party at
some inn. The hon. sec. intends to forward on Saturday a parcel of meal
bread and biscuits to some convenient station, in readiness. Fruit,
&c., to be obtained in the neighbourhood as wanted. To facilitate
the formation of the lists, which, if all join, will prove most valuable,
all who are qualified (ladies as well as gentlemen) are requested to
send without delay their addresses and any useful particulars of the
kind of machine they use, the favourite distances, achievements, &c.,
to Leslie Large, 1 Cambridge Terrace, Hither Green, Lewisham, S.E. The
attention of London members is requested to "Forthcoming events,"
page ii of cover. [covers not now available]
From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), January 1888,
The Vegetarian Cycling Club. - At the conclusion of the first season
I have to express my thanks to the few gentlemen who have co-operated
with me to make the Vegetarian Cyclist's Club an accomplished fact.
I have at present the names of 14 members resident in London, and I
hope that others will come forward and considerably increase this number
before next spring. not one single cyclist resident elswhere (even in
Manchester) responded to my request that all riders should send
their names, etc. (see V.M. for August,) How is this? Is lack of faith,
or of post-cards the explanation? The statistics would be very interesting
and useful, and might lead to the formation of local clubs. I am surprised
at the indifference displayed by Vegetarians generally in this matter.
It is not creditable. Here is a ready and pleasant mode of making known
our existence, and gaining recognition among athletes, and every manly
instinct should prompt those hwo know how good it is to be humane and
healthy to ride occasionally in congenial society. One chief object
of my attempt to organise our forces is that when there is held a great
meeting and parade of clubs at Bushey Park or Hayes Common, our principles
may be represented. Early next season I shall re-commence summoning
all and sundry to turn out gallantly and show the world how those who
live without carrion can enjoy the true pleasures of life. We will have
exercise, fresh air, the beauties of nature, ideal picnics, and merry
returns to London afterwards, with vocal harmony to shorten the way!
This sketch is not altogether drawn from imagination, as we have had
three successful runs since the formation of our club in August, which
was too late a date to hope to do much more than prepare for next year.
- Leslie Large, 1 Cambridge Terrace, Hither Green, S.E.
From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), August 1888,
Vegetarian Cyclist's Club. - The above club had a moonlight run on
Friday, starting from Hyde Park corner at half-past six, via
Battersea Bridge, to Clapham Common, at the N.E. corner of which the
muster took place. Only ten members attended, in consequence of the
recent bad weather. The start took place at 7-27 from the post office,
the route being through Tooting and Merton. Kingston Church (the Market
Place) was reached at 8-31 - not bad time considering the heavy state
of the roads. A "tomato supper" (not "oyster") was
indulged in at the Leopold (temperance house), where fresh lemonade,
oranges, &c., were provided, and after an agreeable chat about the
progress the club is making, the steel bands were again led forth. The
return being through Kew and Hammersmith no time is recorded, as the
members divided somewhat to reach their several homes in various and
distant parts of the metropolis. The V.C.C. already numbers seventy-one
members. The evidence of such performances in favour of a non-flesh
diet is not to be gainsaid, and when the club is properly organised
it is believed there will be forthcoming champions of the Diet of Humanity
and Health to assert its superiority in the athletic world also. - Weekly
Times and Echo, June 24.
From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), April 1889,
London Vegetarian Cycling Club. - On Saturday, February 22, at the
Apple Tree Restaurant, London Wall, a G.M. of the Vegetarian C.C. took
place. There is a nucleus of about 100 already, and the organisers of
the club have confidence in the sufficiency of the diet for sustaining
the highest muscular as well as other powers of man. The head-quarters
of the club to be Charing Cross Vegetarian Hotel in Buckingham Street,
Strand, was voted unanimously, badge, a V formed of wheat and C.C. in
silver monogram. Colours, the symbolical crimson with blue edges and
narrow gold stripes. Uniform C.T.C. and optional.
The electiom of officers next took place. Mr. F. W. Hills [sic], president
of the London Vegetarian Society, to be president. The Rev. Professor
Mayor of Cambridge, Drs. Allinson and Watters, Messrs. Doremus, Hall
and Sullivan, vice-presidents. W. H. Browne, captain. A. J. Doult, treasurer.
Prominent among the elected committeemen is Malcolm Rae, of North Road
fame, 257 miles in a day (24 hours), Messrs. Palmer and Freeman, winners
of races, and nine others. The hon. secretary is Mr. L. Large, 1 Cambridge
Terrace, Hither Green, Lewisham, of whom further information may be
was not among the groups who sent letters of support to the first IVU
Congress in Dresden, 1908, though they have been members of IVU from time
The photo right is from the 1920s
The report from the 1923 Congress, in Stockholm, gives Henry B. Amos,
VegCac General Secretary, as the official delegate. Mr Amos presented
a paper on " Diet for Strength".
At the 1926 Congress, in London, Mr Amos was again the VegCac delegate.
He does not appear to have been actively involved this time but several
other members would have been present as the Congress was in their home
city. One member became involved in the discussions:
In the discussion which followed, Mr. HENRY LIGHT (Vegetarian Cycling
and Athletic Club) expressed the view that the protein standard advocated
by Dr. Hindhede was insufficient for those undertaking heavy physical
work. His chief point of criticism of the conventional English dietaries
was that these were made up of unsatisfactory combinations of foods
and drinks, and he quoted with approval the remark of Mr. C. H. Collings,
the analytical chemist, that ''under healthy conditions protein furnishes
an ample supply of base to counteract any possible uric acid formed
from itself." He contended that while the body could be sustained
on a low protein diet it could not thus be sustained at the highest
point of efficiency.
There was no specific mention of VegCac at any further Congresses up
to 1950. Details from later Congresses wll be added here in due course.
The minutes of the IVU Business meeting in 1965 state that Mr Cyril Oliver
gave a report for the Vegetarian Cycling & Athletic Club.
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