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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...