Tom Sabin

Modified: 2009/08/13 16:11 by ctmadmin - Tagged as: The Butts, Tom Sabin

Tom Sabin of Allesley pictured in 1878

Tom Sabin was an early cycle racer from Allesley, Coventry.

Born 1853 at Allesley, Tom Sabin was reported in The Bicycling Times and Touring Gazette of December 1878 as ‘the first bicyclist in the Midlands’. At this point in time he was 25 years old, Stood 5 ft 11 and weighed 10st. 8Ib - deemed perfect for cycle racing.

He purchased his first machine in 1873 to get him to Coventry and back, to Allesley, then a village outside the city. Exactly what his first model was, is not known, but it is said that he was quickly able to ‘keep up with any of the Coventry men whom he met on the road’ at a time when Coventry’s new cycle trade had began to expand rapidly.

He soon joined the Coventry Bicycle Club and entered for a private handicap among the members in which he came 2nd. His first public race happened in April 1874 when he won at Coleshill, and he later won a quarter-of-a-mile handicap more locally at Allesley Park.

Sabin’s cycle career then rocketed, winning at Nuneaton, Hinckley, Kennington, and Banbury amongst many others. He was noted for endurance rather than speed, and at Leeds in July 1876, he was accidentally knocked of his cycle by A. Smith, but quickly mounted another machine and still finished a credible second. In September 1876, at the Coventry Bicycle Club Sports at The Butts Cycle Track he cleaned up – winning the club mile, the open mile, and the three miles handicaps all from scratch. In the 19 national races he competed in that year, he finished 1st fifteen times, and 2nd three times. In 1877, came Sabin's greatest achievement, that of winning the three-mile cycle race at the Wenlock Olympics, a feat that he repeated the following year.

Outside of racing, Sabin owned a farm in the Allesley area where his family had lived for generations. The Bicycling Times finished their article by stating ‘He (Sabin) does not believe in doing too much work, and, with the exception of leaving off smoking, takes no other training’.
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