The death of Richard Russell leaves a large gap in the Lothians CTC.
Richard was an important figure on the Scottish cycling scene, following his father into the Cyclists’ Touring Club, the Edinburgh Road Club and the Scottish Road Records Association.
One of his earliest memories was of sitting in a small wicker seat on the back of his parents’ tandem on trips around East Lothian, an area he always loved.
He joined the CTC early in 1947, recalling that his first runs were on foot or the bus or tram as that terrible winter dragged on.
An all-rounder, Richard rode with the CTC, youth hostelled, camped all over the country and raced on both bicycle and tricycle.
In 1955, he set Scottish tricycle competition records at 25 and 100 miles and over 12 hours, figures which were unbeaten for many years, indeed one of his team records still stands.
His knowledge and bicycle handling skills won him many tourist trials where he excelled on the observed rough stuff sections.
A CTC Councillor, committee member and Road Club official for many years, he made a huge contribution to cycling in the area.
His memory and attention to detail sometimes stopped a committee meeting in its tracks as he recalled discussions and decisions from the distant past, but he always had the best interests of the organisation at heart.
He was honoured with numerous awards, the Tom Davis cup and the Zoller Quaich but, most prized of all; honorary life membership of the CTC.
Every novice newcomer to CTC runs will remember Richard as he was invariably patient and encouraging to anybody who was flagging or falling behind, remaining with them and shepherding them along the road until they caught up with the group.
He will also be remembered for his bicycle repair skills, that lop-sided, saggy saddlebag producing tools, bits and pieces and spares which, combined with his knowledge, usually repaired a day that looked to be in ruins.
Although Richard started work immediately after leaving school, he was, in many ways, far better educated than a lot of us.
His knowledge of local history and geography was extensive, he was well informed on farming and wild life matters and he was a keen reader and theatre goer.
A printer to trade, he spent over forty years working at T & A Constable in Edinburgh where he was very active in the trade union, being father of the chapel for many years.
Richard’s expertise in printing led to his teaching night school classes with his usual attention to detail.
Sadly, Richard lost his wonderful wife, Margaret, in 1994 but his sons, Colin and Gregor, are both prominent and active members of the contemporary cycling scene.
Richard, who was still cycling strongly until a few weeks before his death, will be sorely missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing him and especially by his extended family of whom he was so proud.
Although he was small in stature, he was a giant on the road – and will remain so in our memories.
* The funeral will take place in Edinburgh, at Morton Hall Crematorium‘s Main Chapel, 12:00 noon.
Picture courtesy of D. McClure.