Team De Ver Cycling Club started as a small group of cyclists set up by Maurice Burton in the late 1980s following his retirement from professional racing. Maurice wanted to change the sport which he loved and which meant so much to him. At that time, it was a sport in which only a very narrow section of society participated and was bedevilled with bigotry and discrimination.
Maurice’s vision was to increase the accessibility of the sport to all sections of the community irrespective of race, gender or background, and encourage a wide and diverse group of people into cycling and enjoy the sheer pleasure of riding a bike. Maurice encouraged local men and women of all abilities and from all backgrounds to join his group. The group trained together to gain bike fitness in order to enter various charity rides raising money for a variety of charities.
Team De Ver Cycling Club has achieved Maurice’s dream. It has gained a reputation of being an inclusive and welcoming club for everyone whatever their level of ability. Following the formation of the group several members “caught the bug” and cycling became their passion. What was at first a group of novice cyclists discovering the pleasures of cycling has transformed into a group of cyclists who wanted to improve their bike fitness and test their cycling potential.
In 2008 Maurice and Everard White decided to put the cycling group on a more formal footing and the Team De Ver Cycling Club was formed with a register of members, a club committee, an annual membership fee and regular weekly club rides.
Maurice, the founder of Team De Ver Cycling Club, was born in London to an English mother and Jamaican father. Maurice was the first black British champion in cycling. He spent his early years in track cycling, training at the Herne Hill Velodrome. His first taste of success came when he won the Junior Sprint National title in 1973. He won the amateur scratch title the following year and was booed as he crossed the line. Such was the racial prejudice in the sport at the time. In spite of inspiring his team to a British record in the team pursuit a year later Maurice was not even considered for that event when the squad was selected for the 1976 Montreal Olympics. It is now generally recognised in the cycling world that the reason for this was racial prejudice which was rife in the sport at the time.
At the UK’s loss, Maurice became frustrated by the racism pervasive in Britain and in 1976 moved to Belgium basing himself in Ghent. From there he proceeded to have a very successful professional racing career, riding during the winter months in the indoor track Six Day Racing events and in the summer months road racing. Maurice’s professional cycling career came to an abrupt end in 1984 following a serious racing accident in Argentina. Maurice returned to the UK and started his own cycling business, with his wife Mia. He acquired the De Ver Cycle Shop and transformed it into a cycle shop which has become one of the best cycling shops in London and the South East.
Maurice and Mia’s eldest son, Germain, followed in his father’s footsteps, happily without the problems of the prejudice Maurice had to contend with. As part of the Under 23 British Cycling Academy Germain successfully represented his country on several occasions, winning as part of Team GB in January 2015 a bronze medal in the team pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Columbia and in July 2015 a gold medal in the Team Pursuit in the Under 23 and Junior European Track Championships in Greece. Germain is now based in London and focusing on a career in training.