Cycling Weekly is sad to announce that Johnny Helms died in hospital this morning after a short illness. He was 85.

Helms was proud to be Cycling Weekly‘s longest-serving contributor, after overtaking illustrator Frank Patterson in 2004.

Helms’ cartoons have delighted readers for over 63 years and he served under seven editors of the magazine. His first cartoon was published on February 6, 1946.

Helms was a member of Warrington Road Club and formerly club president.

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  • james jarman

    Another belated message of sympathy, I share my pal Denis Wilkinson’s remaks above, I too served with Johhny in the Royal Signals,he slept in the bunk below me,such a great friend and companion, in our old age it was just the odd telephone call and crd and letter and cartoon at Christmas. His last one summed him up,,”Still cycling every day, but not so far” He was a wonderful man, his life dedicated to cycling.
    Never fortgotten old pal Ji. Milford Haven

  • Denis Wilkinson

    A bit late with my comments,only just discovered this site.I have known Johnny since we were 18 as we both joined the Army on the same day when we were ordered to report for service at Congleton.WEe went through the war together as special wireless operators in the Royal Corps of Signals working in conjunction with the Intelligence Corps.
    Upon demob I went back to Manchester and he went back to Sutton Weaver He attended my Wedding on the !st July 1950 in Manchester and in fact we shared a bed the night before my wedding day as he stopped over at our (My Parents) house and there was not a spare room or bed..They did not have stag nights like they do today
    we kept in touch over the years and I can say that in all the time I knew him he was always of a cheerful dispositionand had a positive attitude.He was a very good friend to have and I am proud to have known him His cartoons very much say everything you would wish to know about him.
    Our sympathies must be extended to his Wife Ruth who must be missing him very much
    Sleep well my friend.

  • David Chadderton

    Thank you Johnny for a lifetime dedictaed to humour that keeps us all going. I have enjoyed CW since 1958 in the Milford on Sea Cycling Club, now 65 and ripping up the roads in Ballarat. May your laughs be heard all around heaven. David.

  • John Richards

    The end of an era, he made you laugh every week. Everyone could identify Johnny’s characters in their own club. A hard-back publication of his work would, I’m sure, be appreciated by a wide readership.


    I will miss Johnnys cartoons. It was always the first thing i turned to.RIP jOHNNY

  • Dean Madden

    Cycling has lost a true great. His perception and ability to poke fun at the world of cycling left him peerless.

  • Geoff Waters

    Johnny Helms’ gentle humour will be sadly missed in my neck of the woods. No more Helms dogs, time trial gaffes or ‘massed start’ messes…his cartoons were the only things my wife ever looked at in the mag. Our condolences from Durban, South Africa.

  • Martin Pilnick

    How sad!! I remember having his cartoons pasted round my bike shed in the early 60’s!! How I used to laugh!! So true to a bikies life, then & now!! RIP!!

  • Don Thompson

    Vale, Johnny Helms, your gags were just as fresh this week as they were when I first bought my Cycling magazines in a secondhand book shop for a penny in 1954. They were the personification of Pommy cycling.

  • Clarence Kokkinis

    Johnny Helms was a national treasure. His work was magical and wonderful and I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing. I spoke with him a couple of years ago. I told him how special his work was, we discussed past comics and I told him of my favorites and we discussed his dogs who chased the cyclists and he said to me: ” You are very kind, Sir” I am writing now and sobbing tears.

    As a long standing contributor to a vintage bicycle website called I have written and advised and aided classic bicycle enthuiasts with repair tips, advice and historical tours through the golden age of British Cycling and it has been my honour and pleasure to discover Johnny Helms and back issues of cycling magazine along the way.

    Clarence Kokkinis

  • Matt Faulkner

    What a shame. Brilliant cartoons in the back of the Mag, the first thing I would turn to before reading the rest from cover to cover, just a ritual.

    I think a hardback book of his complete cycling cartoon collection should be made, perhaps with interluding pictures of him at work (and play), i’d enjoy reading that.

    At least he lived a long, fulfilling life and hopefully died knowing that he had made a lot of people smile and laugh.

    RIP Johnny.

  • jim lowton

    Sad, sad news re the great johnny Helms. I particularily enjoyed his cartoons about Baz.
    RIP Johnny.

  • david meek

    sad news about Johnny Helms, so many of us grew up with him. Perhaps his cartoons should be donated to the cartoon archive, to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to see his work

  • Darb

    Such sad news. My wife bought me a copy of his book for Xmas a few years back and I still laugh at the cartoons today.

    He will indeed be very sadly missed, as all other people appear to be saying.

    Agree with Geoff Gartrell – CW needs to print a special issue of Johnny. It’s the least CW can do……

  • Tony Geesing

    What a shame! Just been laughing at this weeks offering as well. I agree about the special ‘Helms’ issue.

  • geoff smith

    really sad to hee the news, i was brought up with him since i was a lad back in the late 50,s, will be missed..

  • B.Elvin

    JH was a great humourist and graphic artist who knew every aspect of being an all-round club cyclist. I think we all laughed at the daft things Baz, Ruby Lustre and all the others got up to because they were never too far from the things we all experienced or had seen happen, but with Helms’ added dash of wit and imagination.

  • Gordon B

    Agree with Geoff, you’ve got to have a special issue for someone like that.

    He’ll be sadly missed.

  • neil duerden

    I have been an avid reader of Cycling Weekly since 1982. MrHelms’ cartoons have been part of my weekly cycling fest since then-how sad he has now departed.Very witty&astute dialogue could only have been thought up by a fellow two(&three) wheeler.

    Rest In Peace-you will be missed very much!!

  • Colin Derbyshire

    It is sad when you think that someone who has been around for all of your life is suddenly not there anymore.

  • Roger Hughes

    How da, I’d just be laughing at todays cartoon in the comic, and then saw the web announcement.

  • geoff gartrell

    There will never be another Johnny Helms!!! Celebrate his life and his talent with a special issue.

  • Brian Gedney

    Really sad about Johnny. I`ve been laughing at him since i was 18-now 65.Carry on cycling! Brian