An air of mystery surrounds a World Cycling Championship belt that is being auctioned on Tuesday (September 13).

The plated metal belt was awarded to J.W Lamb who rode over 1015 miles, at the six-day London Bicycle Contest in May 1892.

John Anderson, from auctioneers Anderson & Garland, described the piece as a “striking piece of silverware”. It measures 33-inches long and is contained in a glazed display case.

Interestingly, the vendor has no knowledge of how it came to be in his family’s possession.

J.W Lamb

Picture credit: Anderson & Garland

Furthermore, there is little information in the Cycling Weekly archives recording the events of the race, or detailing Lamb himself.

There is a preview of the “contest” in the May 7, 1892 issue of Cycling magazine:

“Several well-known cyclers [sic] were present at the start of the six days’ bicycle race at the Central Hall, Holborn on Monday morning last. There were eleven starters, and a twelve miles-an-hour gait was set, Lamb reeling off the first ten miles in 50 minutes. A faster pace than this is almost impossible, as the track is narrow, fifteen laps to the mile and by no means well laid. The race concludes at 11.30pm. There is to be £1,000 to the man who does 1,000 miles (a pretty safe offer, we imagine), and every man has got to cover 150 miles per day or be ruled out of the race.”

The following week’s magazine, which came out a week after the race finished, contains just a paragraph.

”J.W Lamb, the winner of the six days’ professional contest at the Central Hall, Holborn, last week, rode a Crypto geared ordinary, and his performance on such a track, under such circumstances, was certainly a good one.”

Lamb rode 1015 miles and 10 laps in the race.

The belt is valued between £500 and £800; more information can be found by clicking here (external link).

  • Nigel Wynn

    Many thanks to everyone who has posted up some info on the mystery belt, some gems of information.

  • Geoff Waters, Durban, South Africa

    The International Cycling Association (predating the UCI) was formed in 1892 (Sturmey of S-A gear fame was 1st Pres) and the first official ISA world champs were held in Chicago, USA in 1892 but confined to amateurs. This belt would therefore seem to be a ‘one-off’, esp as it was awarded for a pro winner, and the world champs it relates to were undoubtedly unofficial. A beautiful object and a wonderful piece of cycling memorabilia. It deserves a home in a cycling museum for public display.

  • Ian Ellis

    Results (on 7th May 1892):

    1 W LAMB 1013 miles 126 yds

    2 W STAGE 847 miles

    3 FLANNAGAN 828 miles 3 laps

    4 HAL BRETE 822 miles 3 laps

    5 HAWKER 675 miles

    6 VEUVILLE 667 miles 13 laps

    7 SNOWDEN 635 miles

    8 LEWIS 626 miles 6 laps

    9 BAKER 605 miles 2 laps

    Courtesy of

  • Phil Lamb

    Time for some frantic optimistic genealogy to find out if I’m related to that chap. The Lamb family around Portsmouth was quite keen on cycling around that time. Wishful thinking but who knows…