During 1880’s and 1890,s following the invention of the chain driven cycle the sport of cycling became very popular. The sport was popular very where and in 1884 Aberdare Bicycle Club was formed and in 1890 it had developed into a racing team.
The Linton Family moved from Langport in Somerset and moved to Aberaman around 1871, the four brothers were to become famed cyclists throughout the world. Arthur was three when he moved to Aberaman but he became the most noted cyclist of the family. During the 1893 season he began to establish himself nationally and he was signed as a professional rider to ‘Gladiator’ cycle under the tutelage of the trainer ‘Choppy’ Warburton. Also in this year In he broke the world record for riding the bike un-paced for 23 miles in Cardiff this was the start of his amazing life but cut short. Arthur held many British records up to 200 miles and reached celebrity status here and abroad In 1894 Arthur defeated ‘Dubois’ the French Champion in Paris and was narrowly beaten by the Italian Champion ‘Bonnic’ who after that refused to race him again. In 1894 he broke four world records, and became world champion for 1895/96. When he came back to Aberaman in December he was given a hero’s welcome with a public banquet which was held in the Lamb and Flag Public house and was presented with an illuminated address. In 1896 during Bordeaux to Paris race “The Blue Ribbon Event”on professional cycling and the controversial on tying for first place Arthur died of Typhoid fever, but rumours spread that he due to illegal drugs given to him by his trainer. Whatever the shock to the local community was bad and his funeral was one of the largest everseen in Aberdare his cycle was draped in crepe and being pushed behind the cortege by one of French rival.
Jimmy Michael followed much the same route becoming the first Welsh and British to win a world championship in Cologne in 1895. In 1896 he became the World Middle Distance at Cologne. After the death of his brother Jimmy split from ‘Choppy’ Warburton and decided to move to America, he enjoyed a successful career breaking many records and amassing fortune. Jimmy retired from cycling and became a jockey and racing horse trainer this venture failed and Jimmy returned to cycling in 1902 which he was not the same after he came back he died in November 1904 on the liner ‘Savoie’ whilst traveling back to New York at the age on 29.
(There is a field in Aberaman called Michael’s field “Mike’s field”)
Tom Linton had a less successful career as a cyclist as is brothers Arthur and Jimmy and never enjoyed the recognition; he died in 1914 of Typhoid fever the same disease that killed his brother Arthur. The fourth brother Samuel had returned to work as a miner in the local mines and died in 1935.
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