Lionel Joseph 1923-2023

Lionel Joseph with his wife Joyce and their tandem
Wartime cycle commuter and keen tourer, Lionel Joseph passed away peacefully at his home in Surrey. He will long be remembered for his contributions to Cycle magazine

Cycling UK life member and former CTC archivist Lionel Joseph died peacefully at home in Surrey on 16 January 2023 aged 99.

Throughout his life, Lionel had a passion for cycling, and particularly cycle touring. Each summer holiday, from the age of 10, he would cycle 60 miles with his brother from their home near Epsom to holiday at Seaford; Lionel was 14 when he first made the journey on his own. Aged 15, Lionel used his fortnight’s annual leave for a solo cycle tour to Devon, the first of many cycle tours.

While Lionel loved cycle touring, the mainstay of his cycling as a young man was commuting, covering around 180 miles each week. It was during one of those commutes that Lionel met Joyce, a fellow teenage cycle-commuter riding home through wartime London.

After the war, Lionel and Joyce married and they enjoyed cycle touring as a couple and then later with their four sons, notably to Wales and Ireland.

On retiring from teaching in the 1980s, and finding that he once again had time for cycle touring, Lionel bought himself new solo and tandem bikes. In the following 40 years, Lionel rode around 70,000 miles on his solo, plus a further 20,000 on the tandem with Joyce.

Into his late 70s, Lionel completed a number of significant 10-day tours to Yorkshire and Wales, plus occasional day rides of more than 100 miles, including a notable one retracing his boyhood route to Seaford.

Well into his late 90s, Lionel still rode regularly, although the tandem was finally retired in 2018, due to road safety concerns – a story that was picked up by many of the national papers, and which led to an interview with Lionel and Joyce that featured in Cycle magazine.

In the early 1990s, Lionel volunteered to index the CTC’s extensive archives of editions of the CTC Gazette and 6000 photos, a task that he enjoyed thoroughly, and which enabled Lionel to author the CTC book The First Century of the Bicycle and Its Accessories in 1995. One such cycle accessory that was dear to Lionel was the Watsonian sidecar, Lionel’s own photo of which featured was ‘photo of the month’ in the Oct/Nov 2022 issue of Cycle.

Lionel is survived by his wife, Joyce (99), and their four sons.