With the passing of Tommy Barlow the Club lost one of its greatest and longest serving members.
T.M.B. joined the Club in 1913 and was elected to Committee in 1915. That Committee included some outstanding administrators and officials who had guided the Club from its infancy and there is little doubt that Tommy learned much from them and he in turn as Racing Secretary and Editor set standards for many other of our officials to follow. He was small in stature but a giant in ability and certainly, during the later years of his life, was a cartoonist’s dream, with his slight stooping figure, usually garbed in “plusses”, and with a hand-rolled cigarette somehow affixed to his upper lip. “Cycling” described him as a human chronometer, but this description sadly underrated the man. He was a member of a number of Cycling Clubs and indeed a founder member of several.
His vision was bounded by the cycling scene, otherwise he would have achieved greater eminence on a wider stage. Highly efficient as a Road Racing Secretary, he was the innovator of the Midnight ’12’ (starting at 9.30 p.m. on Saturday evening to avoid the traffic problems of the late 1930’s) and was the first to use stationary time-keepers on the finishing circuits of 12 hours and 24 hour events. Although somewhat aloof by nature he nevertheless attracted a warm affection and respect from others.
He was one of nature’s gentlemen of the old school and was probably against any form of commercialism. He nevertheless derived genuine satisfaction in the standing and success of the Manchester Wheelers’ Club.
The “History of the Manchester Wheelers’ Club 1883-1933” was compiled and produced by Tommy and will remain as a permanent testimonial to his ability and contribution to this Club.
His duties as Competitions Secretary to the R.T.T.C. from 1945 to 1977, which involved all the B.B.A.R. Tables and Competition Records required a tremendous amount of time and work and were worthy of national recognition.
He was a raconteur with a dry sense of humour, time-keeper for all types of cycling competition, time trials, track racing, road records and cycling historian.