Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeOtherEditorialCraig Hardie

Craig Hardie


It was with great sadness that we learnt this week about the passing of Craig Hardie, a living legend in Scottish cycling and beyond as a successful rider, true character, and popular bike shop owner, but so much more than that too.

Most of the images of Craig in our picture library feature him either wheelying, covered in mud, beaming his wonderful smile, or winning with his hands in the air – or more often than not some combination of them all.

Craig Hardie
Craig Hardie looking like he enjoyed winning the 2007 Scottish ‘Cross Championships. Photo©Ed Hood

Originally from Dalgety Bay in Fife, Craig was a long-time member and stalwart of the Dunfermline Cycling Club and enjoyed a stellar cycling career, full of limitless energy, verve and flair, enthusiasm and pure enjoyment.

He competed and won across many different disciplines; road racing, grass track, cyclocross and mountainbike and was a multiple Scottish Champion in cyclo-cross and in mountainbike, winning medals in the downhill and cross-country events. He was also successful in BMX racing and was a founding member of the Fife Cycle Speedway Club.

Many people enjoyed Craig’s riding style – panache doesn’t begin to cover it – any time he raced, and particularly at events like the Highland Games, with a good crowd ready to be entertained by wheelies, playing to the audience and exaggeratedly feigning problems before suddenly sprinting through to the win.

An accomplished mechanic, superb wheel builder and bike-fitting expert, Craig ran his cycle shop in Cairneyhill, Fife where he was well-known for helping anyone and everyone to the best of his considerable ability.

Craig was a lovely man, a best friend or mentor to many, and a great rider – but he never lost sight of his ethos: bikes are fun.

Here at VeloVeritas we offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

A number of friends have passed us their tributes to Craig:

* * *

James McCallum

“What can you say about Craig that wasn’t obvious to anyone who ever met him? 

“A tenacious showman with a never-ending enthusiasm bookended with magician-like bike skills. 

“I still remember the odd ‘sticky bottle’ being handed out by him from the team car and thinking ‘Jesus his hands are huge’. Lol. 

“We would always laugh at the many stories when we would ride together and he was never shy of the odd wind-up mid-race and a good old heckle of encouragement. 

“Craig’s passing is a sad loss to the cycling world and we will always remember how much of a fighter he truly was.”

Craig Hardie
Craig Hardie in typical celebratory mode: wheelying, waving and winning. Photo©Cameron Mason

* * *

Shane Stokes

“Like many, I was stunned this week to read the news that Craig had passed away.

“I met him a decade or so ago at the Tour of Britain, where he was working as the mechanic for the Irish team. I had gone over to spend a few days with the squad, reporting on its progress, and got to know Craig there.

“He was in the team car during the stages, ready to leap out with spare wheels when needed, and also spent a lot of time working on the bikes before and after each day’s racing. My impression was that he was a very hard worker, very knowledgeable about bikes and very, very passionate about the sport.

“But it was more than that; he was a thoroughly decent chap, and great fun.

Craig’s sense of humour was very evident during that week, as was his warm, friendly nature. Our paths didn’t cross after that, but we were connected on social media. When he revealed news of his illness at the end of September, it was something that was very hard to believe.

“Craig received bundles of encouragement from many well-wishers and, as part of that, Cameron Mason uploaded a video of him in action. In the clip [below] Craig is seen racing around-the-houses in an ‘urban-cross’ event in Peebles, in the Scottish Borders, popping multiple wheelies, waving to the crowd, amping up their enjoyment while clearly having a ball himself. You can see tremendous skill in the clip, but also a lot of class. It perfectly encapsulates his personality.

“Although it’s ten years since we met, I’d hoped to spend a bit more time with Craig at some future race. Many others too will have hoped to cross paths with him again. He was the kind of person you hoped to bump into; decent, funny, passionate about the sport and about life itself.

“It seems so wrong that Craig’s life ended so young, but he will have motivated and encouraged so many people over the years that his energy and influence will live on in them.”

* * *

Jennifer Turner

“My heart goes out to Craig Hardie and his family.

“I will so miss your cheeky wee smile, banter and sense of humour.

“You were one of the nicest people I know and the help you gave me and especially to Andrew … we are absolutely heart-broken and will never ever forget you, xxx.”

Craig Hardie
Photo©Peter Smith

* * *

Rab Wardell

“My first memory of Craig is from the British Mountain Bike Series in Builth Wells, Wales, in the year 2000. I was spectating at the race and my older brother was racing in the Youth Cross Country event. Craig was racing Downhill in the Pro Elite class against the top racers. This made a big impact as he was someone from the same town as me racing at the top level. Subconsciously it broke down a barrier for me in this new sport I had discovered and I realised that maybe I could be a mountain bike racer too?

“Around a year later I met Craig for the first time. We were both racing at a cyclocross event in Callander. After the race, I was sitting with my mum, brother, and Craig too. He was really welcoming and we talked and laughed about the action of the day. From memory, he had won the senior race, and we left thinking what a nice guy Craig was.

“One stand-out performance of Craig’s was when he won the Scottish Cross Country Mountain Bike Championships in Pitmedden Forest in Fife in 2002. My club was organising the race and we had heard that Craig wanted to win his home championships badly. True to form he planned his training perfectly, peaking on race day, and won convincingly with minutes in hand over second place.

“When I was a little older, I would race against Craig in mountain bike races, cyclocross, road crits, and even grass track at the highland games. He was a fearsome competitor. Racing was his hobby outside of running his bike shop and being a father and a husband. However, when he pinned a number on he was there to race!

“He was meticulous in his preparation, as well as a fantastic bike handler with a lightning-fast finish. I’d never wish to arrive at the line with Craig as I had no chance of beating him!

“All being said it was great to see Craig at the races. He’d often say hello with a broad Fifer ‘How ya doin’, sir’ and a firm handshake.

“I will always remember Craig as a fighter who was full of energy and fiery passion. He was characterised by his professionalism, his diligence, and he was always well presented with a pristine matching bike and kit. “

He would never give up when he had set his mind on a task, and from motorbike racing to grass track, I think he became Scottish Champion at whatever he turned his hand to.

“He was a great showman and was always prepared to promote his sport and entertain spectators. He often performed best at events with a crowd and certainly developed a strong fan club over the years. 

“I was deeply saddened to hear of Craig’s cancer diagnosis, but I knew he would fight with all he had.

“To learn that he had passed away earlier this week was terrible. I believe that Craig has had a positive impact on more people than he could have possibly known, and I wish that I could have told him my memories in person.

“My whole family wishes to pass on our condolences, and our thoughts are with Lynn, Lois, and all of those close to Craig.”

Photo©Craig Hardie/Twitter

* * *

Sandy Gilchrist

“For sure Craig was a legend who inspired everyone he came in touch with.

“He will be sorely missed in the cycling community. RIP.”

Photo©Craig Hardie/Twitter

* * *

Gordon Goldie 

“So very, very sad to hear that Craig Hardie lost his battle with cancer.

“A bike rider, mechanic, sponsor, coach and pal.

“I’d known Craig about 20 years and we always had a laugh whenever we met up. He lived and breathed cycling and will be very sadly missed by all who knew him.

“All of our very best wishes go to Lois and Lynn. We are so very sorry for your loss and you are in our thoughts.

“Rest in peace old chum.”

Photo©Craig Hardie/Twitter

Rider, mechanic, enthusiast, entertainer, champion and inspiration to many, rest in peace Craig.

Martin Williamson
Martin is our Editor, Web site Designer and Manager, and concentrates on photography. He's been involved in cycling for over 42 years and has raced for many of them, having a varied career which includes time trials, road and track racing, and triathlons. Martin has been the Scottish 25 Mile TT and 100 Mile TT Champion, the British Points Race League Champion on the track, and was a prolific winner of time trials in his day, particularly hilly ones like the Tour de Trossachs and the Meldons MTT.

Related Articles

Ian Thomson – a Lifetime of Experience as a Rider and Manager

It’s taken a wee while to organise the meeting but as befits a man with a lifetime of experience in managing others; teaching and in cycling management, he walks in the door of Starbucks bang on time. Belying his 74 years, Ivy’s Ian Thomson could get away with saying he’s 10 years younger.

Callum Skinner – Olympic Champion!

We’ve interviewed him as a World Cup winner, British and European Champion – and now we’re very pleased to be able to interview him as Olympic Team Sprint Champion – not to mention Individual Sprint silver medallist. Mr. Callum Skinner ...

Dimitri De Fauw

It's easy to write an obituary when one of your heroes dies - probably more so if you don't know them well. There's just the legend, palmares, anecdotes and the sadness. But I knew Dimitri De Fauw, not well, but I worked at maybe half-a-dozen Six Day races where he was riding.

John Archibald – CTT 25 Mile Champion with a 48:13

That man John Archibald is back in action again – and with a 48 minutes and 13 seconds ‘BANG !’ down on the Westferry course in the CTT ‘25’ Champs on Sunday past. It gave us a good excuse to catch up with the Commonwealth Games individual pursuit silver medallist and see what he’s been up to since The Gold Coast and what’s next on the agenda for him?

A Day at the ‘Duinencross’ – the Koksijde Cyclo-Cross 2014

We're at the Gent Six Day, and of course, the pils still gets the better of a few of the ‘don’t get out much brigade.’ Friday night didn’t see the best madison chase ever, and on a unanimous decision we headed for frites – and beer. We love the Vivaldi, the landlady, the crazy clientele, the 70’s Disco and the fact that no matter how late we stay, we’ve never seen closing time... And the Saturday of the Gent Six Day means just one thing – the big ‘cross at Koksijde.

Michele Scarponi

Michele Scarponi took fourth on GC at the Tour of the Alps this week and it was a shock to all when word came of his being fatally struck by an Iveco van on an early morning training ride just one kilometre from his home in Filottrano. To Michele Scarponi’s wife, Anna and twin boys Giacomo and Tomamaso, his extended family, friends, fans and team mates we extend our deepest sympathies. Rest in peace, Michele we’re going to miss you.

At Random

Giro di Lombardia 2009 – Day Two

If you're really serious about being a bike racing fan, you have to go and see the five 'Monuments:' Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour of Lombardy. You can get Ryanair punishment flights to airports which are convenient for all of these races; use Care Hire 3000 and the Peter Venere website to get cheapo hotels.

Stuart Balfour – Dave Rayner Fund ‘Rider of the Year’

Stuart Balfour’s win in the supporting u23 race to the GP Ouest France Plouay, one of the most prestigious amateur in France, was special. The Dave Rayner Fund thought so too and made him their ‘Rider of the Year.’ As well as his Plouay success he won in Montpichon and at the Ronde Briochine; he was top 20 in the tough Kreiz Breizh UCI stage race and top 10 in the Tour de la Manche.

James Shaw – Moving to Belgium and to Lotto Soudal U23 in 2015

The last time we spoke to young Englishman, James Shaw he'd just won the junior edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Recently he's followed in the footsteps of Adam Blythe and Dan McLay by signing for Lotto's U23 'feeder' team. High time we had another word with him, we thought to ourselves...

Le Tour de France 2012 – Stage 9: Arc-et-Senans – Besançon (ITT), 41.5km.

I guess I have to face up to it: it’s a black and blue – and yellow, world. I best get the hand of this ‘box ticking’ thing, then.

Tour de Trossachs 2013 – it’s Gold for Goldsworthy

Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles) added his name to the list of Scottish cycling greats – Steel, Bilsland, Millar, Obree and MacIntyre - who have won the Classic chrono, with a 1:07:29 ride on a ‘four seasons in one day,’ Sunday over the glorious countryside around Aberfoyle and Callander to take the win at the Tour de Trossachs 2013.

The VV View: The UCI Should Stop Messing with Nature

‘With the current system we’re shafted’ says BC coach Rod Ellingworth regarding the fact that the world’s best roadman sprinter will have a whole two team mates in Melbourne. The GB and Sky ‘spin machine’ continually tell us how strong British Cycling is; but when it comes down to it, we’re actually joint 22nd in terms of numbers of riders we’re eligible to send to the Elite Worlds. we should 'Stop Messing with Nature'.