Bedford and County Athletic Club

Bedford and County Cycling and Athletic Club was formed in 1885.

The club held four or five cycling and athletic events during the year and a few events just for cycling or athletics. A magnificent silver cup from the period is still presented annually by the Bedfordshire Road Cycling Club.

The club's headquarters was then the Swan Hotel in Bedford. The emphasis on the athletics side was generally "gentlemen players". The list of officers and vice presidents reads like an extract from Who's Who. The majority were leading politicians, senior service officers and landed gentry (no ladies were allowed!).

We believe the club was disbanded at the start of the Great War and was not started again until 1936. There was no affiliation with cycling in 1936.

The headquarters of the new (still men only) club in 1936 was at what is now known as the Igranic Sports Field in Kempston. There were other headquarters over the years including at what is now the Bedford Town Rugby Club, Fairfield on Clapham Road, and on the Polo Field where the Interchange shopping development now stands.

The Club moved to its present base, the Bedford International Athletics Stadium, in Barkers Lane in 1948.

The ladies section of the club was formed around 1946 and it amalgamated with the men's club soon after the move to the cinder track at Barkers Lane.

The original track was laid to the same design as that built in Cardiff for the Empire Games of 1958. Such was the quality of the track that even in the 1980s it was widely regarded as probably the best cinder track in the country.

In 1989 the track was upgraded to a synthetic surface and the adjacent accommodation was developed providing a quality facility of which both club and community can be proud.

The partnership that has been developed between the Club and Bedford Borough Council has been one of the major reasons for the success now enjoyed.

In Autumn 2010 the Bedford Track was completely relayed with a new Mondo surface similar to that used at the 2012 London Olympics.

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