Beryl Burton OBE is one of the most influential names in British Cycling and one of the most successful British Sportswomen of all time. She grew up in Morley and spent her illustrious career cycling with Morley Cycling Club and Knaresborough CC.
Throughout her career, she achieved more than most athletes can dream of. She won seven world titles, two road race championships and five track pursuit titles – and 96 national titles – 12 road race championships, 13 pursuit titles and 71 trial titles against the clock – makes me feel exhausted just thinking about it!
In this blog post, we’re listing 15 fantastic facts about Beryl Burton.
- Beryl Burton and her daughter Denise both set a record for a British 10- mile ride on a tandem bicycle which took them only 26 minutes and 25 seconds!
- Beryl used to work on a rhubarb farm, even when racing, which was run by cyclist Nim Carline. She worked 12 hour shifts every day during the winter.
- In 1960 she refused to sign a contract with Raleigh Bicycle Company, keeping her name as an amateur cyclist with no financial backing or professional training throughout her career
- Beryl Burton was made an MBE in 1964 and an OBE in 1968.
- She won stage 19 of the Tour de France in 1968.
- Maxine Peake, a British actress, wrote and starred in ‘Beryl: a Love Story on Two Wheels’, a radio play based on her life, with contributions from her husband Charlie Burton throughout.
- She believed that due to her family ancestry of Aryan cyclists, she had an unusually powerful heart and set of lungs.
- At the first cycling club race she took part in, she came in ninth.
- When she was just 11 years old she had chorea and rheumatic fever and had to stay in hospital for 9 months.
- She won her first national medal in 1957. It was a silver in the national 100- mile individual time trial championship.
- She met her husband Charlie Burton when she was just 17 working at a tailoring company in Leeds.
- After dying at the age of 58 of heart failure whilst cycling a a memorial garden was made in her honour in her home town in Morley, Leeds.
- As she passed her fellow male racer Mike McNamara in the 12-hour time trial, she casually offered him a liquorice allsort.
- She set a women’s world record for a 12 hour time trial in 1967 which has not yet been beaten at 277.25 miles.
- She has won 72 national individual time trial titles.