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Bob Cary – Part Two; Life After TI-Raleigh

"I rode for the best team in the world at the time and raced against Eddy Merckx, the best rider ever, so I did OK."

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In Part One of our interview with Bob Cary we covered that part of his career up to his third year with TI Raleigh and the end of 1976.

For 1977 he was back in the UK with the Carlton-Weinmann team alongside riders like Olympic team pursuit medallists, Mick Bennett and Robin Croker not to mention British pro scene stalwart, Reg Smith.

Bob Cary
Bob Cary.

Bob takes up the story:

“It was a good little team, I rode with them for two seasons, with some good placings along the way.

“I rode the London to Holyhead in ’77, that was over 427 kilometres, we were on the bike for 11 hours plus, Sid Barras won that one.

“And in ’78 I rode the Glenryck Cup on the Eastway Circuit – the London Olympic velodrome is built on the site of that circuit – where Eddy Merckx came over along with many big continental names like Poulidor, Ocana and Thurau who won on the day. 

“I also rode in the Belgian kermises but because most of them weren’t UCI races you don’t see the results on the palmarès websites.”

Season ’79 you rode for Glemp-T.J. Cycles on those ‘Flying Gate’ frames.

“Yes, it was an Anglo-Belgian team, the ‘T.J.’ was Trevor Jarvis, the guy behind the ‘Flying Gate’ frames; they actually rode really well. Give me a steel frame over carbon any day – I’m still reaching for my down tube gear levers!

“Glemp was the Belgian side of the team, I got the ride through a recommendation from the folks at Plum Vainqueur bike shop in Ghent.”

Bob Cary
A good shot of the famous ‘Flying Gate’ frame as Bob Cary rides for Glemp-T.J. Cycles. Photo©supplied
Bob Cary
Bob Cary always looked great on the bike. Photo©supplied

Then you rode single sponsored for Carnation-Build Up?

“Yes, with Ken Bird supplying the bikes.

“My career was winding down by then but I still got a few nice results like winning the North Roads ‘Hard Riders’ time trial – that’s early season and in the lanes. I won it at the start of my career too.”

I believe you did coaching in Africa during your time with Raleigh?

“I was over in Victoria Island, Lagos in Nigeria with my Raleigh team mate, Dave Lloyd at the end of seasons ’75 and ’76.

“In my ‘civilian’ life since my cycling career ended I’ve done a bit of business in Nigeria – I can relate to the mentality there and get on well with the people.

“But on the way back from Nigeria in ’76 I flew to Rome with a view to travelling to Florence to sign with the Italian Magniflex team but I’d caught some sort of stomach bug in Nigeria and had to head back to London I was so unwell.

“I went to the tropical diseases hospital in London but it’s never really been sorted out.

“That’s one of my few regrets, I think I would have been more suited to Italian races than the races in Belgium and The Netherlands – as I said before, I was in there too deep, too early in my career.”

Bob Cary
In 1985 Bob Cary was Women’s National Coach with the US Cycling Federation. Photo©supplied

And you coached in the USA?

“Yes, Jack Simes invited me over, I met Fred Mengoni [a massive supporter of cycling in the US, helping men like Greg Lemond and Steve Bauer, ed.] in New York and I said I’d love to ride for him – he sponsored Greg Lemond at the time – but he said, ‘no, I want you as a coach.’

“I looked after the Huffy team, Danny van Haute, Mark Whitehead, Nelson Vails, LA Olympic Sprint Champion Mark Gorski and LA Olympic Pursuit Champion, Steve Hegg.

“People in the UK wouldn’t realise but cycling in the States back then was different, many of the riders came from wealthy backgrounds, their folks had money; in the UK and Europe it was still predominantly a  working class sport.” 

Bob Cary
Bob Cary as a young rider in 1969. Photo©supplied

On the subject of the USA, you had a hand in getting British Time Trial Champion,