Saturday, May 28, 2022

Stories

Phil Cheetham – Memories, Part Two; Behind the Iron Curtain to Ride the Peace Race

In Part One of Phil Cheetham's Memories we heard about how, in 1967, he made his way to Troyes in France's Champagne region to spend the summer months racing with one of the best teams in the country, UVA Troyes and in this part we hear about Phil's exploits riding behind the Iron Curtain in the 1972 Peace Race.

Phil Cheetham – Memories, Part One; Racing in France in the 60’s, with UVA Troyes

Often, when we're talking to riders about those Golden Days for bike racing, the 60’s and 70’s, the name Phil Cheetham crops up. Cheetham was a quality rider with some big results in France in the early 70’s and he very kindly agreed to share his memories with us.

Escaping City Life with the Glasgow Cycling Clubs

Glasgow in the 70’s wasn’t the stylish, cultured city it is now; the London Government still hadn’t forgotten or forgiven 1919 with troops on the streets as ‘The Dear Green Place’ teetered on the brink of a ‘Red Revolution.’ The rider in our tale was a member of several Glasgow cycling clubs which meant an escape from the 'rough edges' of the city.

Tony Bell remembers his brother Mark, British Amateur and Professional Champion

Mark Bell died in 2009 at just 48 year-of-age but his journalist brother, Tony – a fair rider himself, ‘back in the day’ - very kindly agreed to talk to us about a rider whose palmarès, whilst spectacular, could have been so much broader. Mark Bell, a rider we never really saw the very best of.  

Bernie Nolan – Racing in Oz; “the happiest time of my life”

Bernie Nolan wanted to race as a Pro in Europe but prior to that he sought fame and fortune in the Antipodes – under the Aussie sun, and surely the racing down there wouldn’t be as savage as Belgium?

Our Time in Belgium, by Norman Gower

One of VeloVeritas’ functions it seems is unlocking the memories of those stalwarts – like our own mentor and soothsayer, Viktor and indeed, our editor Martin - who beat a path in the 70’s and 80’s to the legendary Mrs. Deene’s boarding house in Gent (and later in Zomergem) to show those Belgies how it should be done. The latest epistle which came our way was from Norman Gower.

Phil O’Connor; 21 Years of Cycling Photography

It was May 1981 when Phil O'Connor took his first race picture; Manxman, Steve Joughin winning a stage of the Tour of Britain, 'Milk Race' as it hurtled into Bournemouth - some months later he managed to get it published in a cycling magazine.

Gary Wiggins – a Legend with a Tragic End

The late Gary Wiggins’ sister Glenda Hughes, took to social media recently to remind us that some 13 years have passed since the big Australian died under mysterious circumstances. Wiggins had many sides – depending on how you knew him – which prompted us to re-run our review of his European glory to tragic end.

Grant Thomas Tribute, Part One; Behind the Winner’s Bouquet

Following the sad passing of former British Amateur Road Race Champion and road track star Grant Thomas in The Netherlands we received many words of tribute to the man who defined ‘cool’ on a racing bike. Mr. Paul Kilbourne has featured on our pages before, reliving his memories of his time with the now legendary ANC team, gave us a lovely tribute to Grant, which we publish with pride.

Nikolai Razouvaev on Why Riders Crash So Much

There have been an AWFUL lot of crashes in the mere couple of weeks since racing resumed – Kruijkswijk out of the Tour, Roglic out of the Dauphine, Jakobsen pole axed in a Polska finale, Remco over a bridge – and we could go on. When we saw this piece on the website of our amigo, ex-World Junior Team Time Trial Champion, Nikolai Razouvaev aka ‘The Russian Crank’ we thought he made some interesting points.

Ron Webb and Life Behind the Big Motors

We've been looking back on the life of the late Ron Webb – one of the most important men in the development of professional track racing and the construction of velodromes all over the World. But Webb was also a rider and cut his teeth behind the big motors. Pip Taylor passed us these words by Ron on some of his time as a Stayer.

Pip Taylor – Part Two; Six Days are not a Milieu for the Faint of Heart

In Part One of his account of ‘running’ at the SKOL Six Days in the early 70’s Pip Taylor told us about the 1971 race. For the 1972 race he’d moved up the strata and was ‘running’ for a bona fide ‘Blue Train’ pairing.

Pip Taylor – Part One; Reflections of a Six Day Runner

Regular VeloVeritas reader, Pip Taylor was a ‘runner’ at two of the early editions of the SKOL Six Day races in London, he’s kindly shared his recollections with us.

Bernie Nolan and the Legend of the Kazemaatenstraat

The Kazemaatenstraat is part of 70's cycling legend, a condemned cul-de-sac in Ghent where penniless 'Anglo' cyclists could have a cheap roof over their heads as they pursued their (mostly lost) cause to make it big and become a ‘Kermis King.’ Manchester's Bernie Nolan was one of those riders and has kindly agreed to share a few reminiscences with us...

A Reader Writes: My Best Race

It was the best event VeloVeritas Reader John Day had ever been in - or would ever be in. It had been full-on for the last 45 of 100 miles, a true classic...

Billy Bilsland – Peugeot’s Scotsman

Billy Bilsland – ‘legend.’ An over-used word but entirely appropriate when speaking of this man; here’s one from our vaults we thought you might like to read.

Living at Mrs Deene’s Cyclists’ B&B – Part Two; ‘Racing and Eating!’

At the time I set off for Flanders in 1973 to live at Mrs Deene's, I only knew two people who had raced there – one of them being Stan Butler’s son Keith - who had done well enough that he had become a professional - so it was entirely word-of-mouth, a case of asking for whatever advice people could offer and setting off on the cross-channel ferry, hoping for the best.

Living at Mrs Deene’s Cyclists’ B&B – Part One; ‘St David’s Guest House’

If you had visited or raced in Gent in the 60's and 70's the chances were that you would have stayed at ‘Fat’ Albert Beurick’s "Café Den Engel", his later joint-venture with Tom Simpson five miles out of town, the "Velotel Tom Simpson" motel, or "St David’s Guest House" run by Mrs Deene, right in the very heart of the historic old centre of Gent. Reader John Day reminisces about his time there.

Tha’ Knows! Volunteering at the World Road Championships

"In Spring a young man’s fancy..." Well, this Spring, being no longer young, my fancy turned to applying for volunteering at the World Road Championships on the "Yorkshire Team", the events being held 22st to 29th September in Yorkshire, where I have been living for the past eleven years.

The Best Colombian Riders of The Modern Era

A couple of years ago we did a piece about the Colombian influence on European Cycle Sport and the best Colombian riders of the modern era, and at the end of it we mentioned a guy who we believed was going to be a 'Big'; Senor Egan Bernal by name. Since Bernal has become the first Colombian winner of the Tour de France we thought you make like to see what we said back then...

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'.