In early Spring of 1888 a group of riders from the Cycling Section of the Y.M.C.A. Conference Hall, West Ham Lane, Stratford refused to accept a law prohibiting them from riding on a Sunday. The ringleaders of the rebellion of 15 members were Messrs. F.W. Titford, Kethridge. They disassociated themselves, and with the support of Lord Shaftesbury, the seventh Earl, and great social worker for whom the club is named, formed a club at Forest Gate Hotel.
Alfred Rivett joined in 1889 fresh from his brief stay in California, where he had participated in Track Racing with some success and became inspiration and idol of the members. In 1890, he named the Club's colours Cardinal and Black. He also held the Club Championship for seven years, 1890-96, which stood as the longest consecutive period in the club's history until surpassed by 8 years for D.A. Marsh (1949 – 1954) then surpassed by Kevin Baumber (2014 – 2022). Club members raced on the tracks, grass and cement, as well as on the Road with winter training including Cross-Country Running, Football, Boxing and Wrestling.
In 1914 with the advent of The Great War. practically every member of age served in His Majesty's Forces but the Club keep intact and throughout the war period and riding membership never dropped below six. Club casualties resulting from the four years of war were remarkably small. Killed in action, our popular captain, H.A. 'Sunny' Austin. A great favourite and significant loss. The Club Championship Trophy, 'The Austin Trophy' presented by two of his brothers, C. and J.T. Austin, is dedicated to his memory and continues to be awarded to this day. Tommy Turner returned from the Air Force minus his left arm and took wins in Open 25 and 50 races becoming styled in the press as the ‘one armed marvel’
The first Open Event on the Eastern Roads - the ever popular and classic Shaftesbury Open 50 Miles Handicap was commenced in 1906, with the Fastest Time Cup, 'The Perkins Trophy', presented by J. Perkins, Esq. The event has been contested annually to this day (except for the two Great War periods) and has attracted the cream of the Racing World to date.
World War II saw five members were lost through enemy action, one from the Services and four from 'Civvy Street' - V. Richter, H.E. Gooby (a member since 1911), C.L. Nicholls, W. Rushbrook and J. Buck. Of these Harold E. Gooby. Post way the most successful returning member was S.S. Frost, who easily took the Club Championship, 1946, 1947 and 1948.
During the next fifteen years the 'Marsh Twins', David A. and Peter J., held between them all the Club single Records, and the Tandem Records of 30, 50 and 100 miles. D.A. Marsh also made a new National Record for Tandem paced 12 hours at Herne Hill and was altogether 9 times the club champion. The Club 25 Miles single Record was taken by D.J. Petty and the first member to get inside the hour.
J.F. Latilla, member for 66 years, served in many official positions, vice-president for 15 years, president for 28 years. The Open '50' Trophy is now named the 'Jack Latilla Memorial Trophy' to perpetuate his memory. 1972 saw the loss of much revered President Charles W. Austin, 'POP' to all who knew him. President for 9 and a member for 61 years.
The later 20th Century saw the programme of events become very varied with Club events at all distances from 10 miles to 100 miles, a Hilly '20', Evening '10' competition run throughout the summer.
The development of motorways threatened traditional time trial courses with roads being banned for racing purposes, causing the Club to move in time to Mountnessing.
Membership exceeded 100 as we entered the Centenary Year - 1988 - a year clouded by the loss of two Vice- Presidents, Arthur Bosworth (Bosie) in his 70th year of membership and a Shaftesbury man to the end, and Albert Latilla in his 63rd year of membership. Records continued to be broken and trophy winners and champions crowned over the following decades.