26/09/2012 Hughie McNicholl
Jim Robinson writes:
Sadly, another former member of the 'Gale has gone. Hughie had been living in Australia for the last few years and had just purchased a tract of land with a view to building a retirement house for himself and his wife, Mary. Apparently he died very suddenly with no warning.
George McBean and Billy Roulston, both now long-term residents in Oz, were present at the funeral and George sent the following photographs via Alistair MacDonald. You can tell from the jersey when Billy last rode for the Club! (You can also see the same jersey right at the bottom of this page)
25/09/2012 Ian Russell
Jim Robinson writes:
Another report from Ian who still shows no sign of giving up. What's a mere Pedal for Scotland 110 miles Challenge to a 69 year old. Old 'Gale members are made of stern stuff:
On Saturday night I went to bed early to get as much sleep as possible. I asked Linda to make pasta for tea to build up reserves. It seemed rather mad to eat all that stuff and then go to bed but it worked.
The following morning (Sunday) I was up at five o'clock, am, to make porridge and cereal, then toast with honey and tea. I put the Cinelli bike inside the car on top of an old duvet (to preserve the folded down car seats) and loaded all my equipment. This comprised of two 0.75 litre bottles with electrolyte tablets dissolved in spring water.Also I took a 'musette' containing some sheets of bubble wrap and cable ties (for bike transport protection on a trailer to Glasgow fromEdinburgh at the finish). Also energy bars, gels, money and phone and, of course, remembering cycling shoes, helmet, mitts and glasses. I also had to take a change of socks, shirt, jacket for the drive home in case my kit got wet and a pair of shoes for driving.
I set off at 6.05 am wearing my kit with ordinary shoes and drove down to Gary's flat, parking in the spaces, I then disgorged everything from the car there, assembled the bike, fitted the bottles, put on my musette, cycling shoes, mitts , cycling glasses and helmet, placed car keys deep in musette and set off down toGlasgow Green for the start at 7am. I managed to get an early start. Therewas a queue of 20 or so riders ahead of me at that time so I got away on the which wasn't bad at 7.20 am. There would be riders therewho didn't have to travel so far to the start. Behind me there were hundreds of riders queuing to start up until 7.45 am. After that the entry is closed for the 110 mile sportive ride and the organisation goes over to the 50 mile challenge ride. I am glad to report that I completed the ride successfully without any mechanical trouble. I noticed at the start there were four riders from the British army wearing dark blue jerseys with their Commando logos on them.These guys looked really mean. However it turned out that they finished along with me at the end, so despite my age I wasn't that bad at all, finishing in approx 9 hours (8:33:55, to be exact) including the time spent at the three feed stops at Galston, Douglas and Carnwath. My official ride time will be on the PFS website on Monday along with any photos taken by the field photographers.
Most of the competitors were young racers who just kept surging past me. I did jump on the wheels of several to get towed along for a bit, thus saving one-third energy but I couldn't manage to stay with them on the hills. There were plenty more of them coming up behind so I just waited and took a liftwhen one presented itself. There were a couple of old boys like me who I chatted to for a bit until either they left me or I left them. The weather wasn't as good as the BBC predicted. It didn't rain, as the incoming weather system was coming in from the West so by luck we just missed it. However it wasn't as sunny as they said it would be. The sky was nearly always heavily overcast and it was blustery and cold with gusting winds. At some points in the circuitous route the wind was in our faces and it was very strong and laborious to ride into. This made the descents somewhat risky as I felt my front wheel begin to shake at 35mph. However I held on to it. An awful lot of riders seemed to have puncture problems, including the army guys who were thereabouts with me all the way. My theory is that they sat hard down on the saddle over the bumps instead of standing up on stretched legs when going over rough bits on the road. Sitting like this causes pinch flats on the back tyre due to your weight forcing the tyre on to the rim. There was one point at Douglas, when at the feed station, standing around eating, I ended up feeling very cold due to thewind chill. It happened to me last year at the same spot but then it was made worse by rain. After this food stop I continued on but couldn't get warmed up again and this began to cause me concern. The cold wind seemed to penetrate my clothing around the chest area. Then it came to me...why not use some of the bubble-wrap I was carrying in my musette under my jersey as a barrier? I stopped for a few minutes and packed a couple of sheets in there and set off. This made a huge difference as my front began to sweat after five minutes and then became as warm as a stove. A great comfort, truly fantastic, cheap insulation! This saved the day and I became stabilised.The route this year was changed from the 99 mile 2011 event in that they added in 11 miles of a few more steep hills. I have to confess that I got a real shock at the severity of these climbs. I had no idea how daring the organisers would be in this respect. I though the additional 11 miles would be fairly flat (or hoped perhaps). However my previous training served me well and I coped with them without distress, although it was tough hard work.
The route left Glasgow Green through the south side out to Crossmyloof, Pollokshaws, Thornliebank, Newton Mearns then the B769 over the moor (hilly) down to join the A77 Kilmarnock Road. Then it doubled back up north-east on the A77 for a mile and turned right onto the A719 south-easterly toWaterside, Moscow and then on to Galston. At Galston we continued on theA719 up a climb to Sorn hill then turned left onto a minor road eastward.This road I have used many times in the past and I looked forward to a couple of short steep climbs followed by a descent into Newmilns. Howeverthe organisers had other ideas and we turned right off the familiar route earlier than I anticipated to a road I had never encountered before. This bow shaped route took us on a steep climb from 125m to 300m and back to 125 again at Priestland on the A71 with fast descents on a narrow farm road. A few guys got punctures here and I saw some mending them by the side of the road on the verges. When we hit the A71 there was a slow gradual climb eastward past Windy Wizan that lies on the south side of Loudoun Hill. Thenwe were directed by marshals to turn right onto a minor road for several miles of short hills and dips over to the B743 that took us across to Muirkirk.
The B743 is a tough road to cycle on because the road surface has been eroded by rain leaving a rough texture which is felt most severe to a rider on a bicycle (in other words it shakes you to bits, a bit like the Belgian pave). To make it worse the strong wind was in our faces. However at Muirkirk we turned left toward Glespin and Douglas on the A70 Ayr road which is smooth. Then the wind was from the south west and we got partial wind assistance all the way down to Douglas at the food stop so this was mainly a very fast descent. From the Douglas road-end on the A70 we were directed onto the B7078 to the south which was the old A74 to Carlisle (now made redundant by the M74). This fairly unused road has light traffic and we battled on on a long slow drag on a rough textured (worn surface) from here,down beyond the turn-off for Crawfordjohn, to a remote place called Strand where there is a white painted house. Here we were marshalled left onto a hilly minor road over to join the A73 at Maidencots. We went north here up to Roberton (again in the middle of nowhere) and turned north-west on to a minor road which joins the B7055 going north west. This was remote exposed hilly terrain with a few steep climbs on it until we reached the village of Rigside. Here we were marshalled right on the A70 Ayr road on a very fast smooth surface which with wind assistance, got us up to 35mph without pedalling. When we reached a marshall at a sign saying 'Carmichael 3' we turned right off the A70 toward this village. Just before we entered the village, at a T junction there were a family waving and clapping for us, bless em! It's such a boost to the senses to get some appreciation amidst all the pain. However, leaving Carmichael there was a short 75m climb which had nearly all of us dismount and walk due to the severity of the gradient.I could count on my fingers the number of times I have actually walked up a hill when out cycling. On this occasion it seemed the sensible thing to do to conserve energy for what lay ahead rather than deplete reserves any further on one hill.
After a fast descent we joined the A73 south-east for 3 miles then turned left toward the village of Thankerton in 0.5 miles.From there we headed south-east across the west coast railway to Quothqan then north to Libberton to turn left on the B7016. From here we curved northwardfor approx 5 miles to reach the village of Carnwath where there was the last food stop. Once I got to the food stop I felt I had cracked it. It would be about 25 miles to the finish from here and the latter half of the straight route would be downhill. A comforting thought with tired legs. I ate an energy bar, a banana and drank a small carton of milk, all supplied free to participants by friendly staff. The run over to Edinburgh was straight, a few minor slow climbs on good roads over remote farmland. We were stopped once on a fast descent by a farmer droving cattle but the short rest waswelcome and it was a chance to snack while waiting. We reached Balerno with the rain threatening and angry clouds overhead but it came to nothing and we passed over the finish sensor on the road at Currie.
Officials checked our numbers as we went by. Then it was a gentle ride through heavy traffic (still marshalled at crossings by the PFS staff) until we reached Murrayfield Stadium. We were presented with medals, a T-shirt and a goodie bag by congratulatory staff amist a public address ceremony. The busy crowds of family and participants from the Challenge Ride and the Sportif seemed in jovial mood. I then separated from the Sportive groups and went over to the transport area to get the bus back to Glasgow. Transport is provided for all riders by bus and a trailer is laid on to bring the bikes back to the start in Glasgow Green where staff return them to you. I was surprised how everything went without a hitch. PFS are very good at what they do and the staff attitude is superb.
Will I do it again? On reflection it was great but, at the time, it was the toughest cycle ride ever at age 69. I just made it back to the car in time by bike as it was getting near lighting up time and was very dull. I had to ride the four miles from Glasgow Green back to Battlefield in only light damp from a previous shower to where I was parked. It was nice driving home in a nice warm car. When I arrived home I was a bit shattered but felt better after a hot bath. I had no appetite left (too tired to eat ,so I missed supper and had ice cream instead).
27/01/2012 Ricky Pope and Doug Hutcheon
Jim Robinson writes:
Our expatriate former members show no sign of giving up. Dispatches from the Commonwealth reveal that Ricky Pope and Dougie Hutcheon are still able to get their legs over a bike despite the passage of the years and some health scares.
Ricky was at the World championships, with his son Glenn, when they were held in Melbourne in 2010. In an email to Jim Hay he wrote:
“The World Championships were great the only race we missed was the Women's I.T.T.
We were on the hill all day for the Mens R.R I have never seen crowds like this in Australia for a bike race.
20,000 at the start in Melbourne, 20,000 along the road to Geelong and 80,000 around the 16km circuit They did the circuit 11 times, by the 11th time up the hill there was some tired bodies.
Glenn and I did the 16km once. Glenn rode up the hill, I walked and got told (old age) ”unfit, too fat."
In addition, he recently had a visit from Ernie Scally who had approached Jim for Ricky’s contact details.
“Your email and calendar arrived along with Ernie Scally. Not quite true, Ernie phoned and I arranged to meet him at Mundaring Hotel.
We had lunch at Mt. Helena tavern and a very long talk, reminiscing about old times. I was surprised to find what a good friend of Ernie's I had been.
Ernie was fine and it was good to see someone from 50 years ago, he had his new wife of 6 months with him, 'Helen'. Apparently they had been together for 30 years and decided to get married (didn't want to rush into things). She seems very nice and we had a big chat about bikes of course and how good we were. He said I was better than him as I had Big Jimmy and yourself looking after me, a big wrap, so thanks, guys.”
As noted above, Dougie Hutcheon is still going strong despite some health problems. Nothing that will keep him off the bike of course.
He now lives in Penticton, British Columbia, which doesn't look too far, by Canadian standards, from Vancouver.
The accompanying picture was taken during the inaugural Valley First GranFondo Axel Merckx Okanagan in June 2011.
(Merckx married a Canadian girl and emigrated to the area when he retired from pro racing).
04/10/2011 Ian Russell
Jim Robinson writes:
Ian continues his efforts to put the rest of the Oldies to shame. Not content with his French touring exploits, which are currently featuring elsewhere on this site, he is still getting the miles in in far from sunnier climes.
He rode the Pedal for Scotland 100 mile sportive on 11th September just as the remnants of Hurricane Katia were giving the Central Belt gales and torrential rain. The 100 mile option of the sportive ran from Glasgow to Edinburgh taking a big loop to the south through hilly and exposed country roads. Ian was forced to pack it in at Douglas after 51 miles. Soaked and freezing, he reckoned that a large amount of discretion was called for and abandoned. There's always another (and better) day.
It doesn't look too bad in the photograph below but, then, I wasn't out there:
17/09/2011 Hugh Hart & John Mortimer
Jim Robinson writes:
Out of the blue I received an email from Club Secretary, Roy Loughran, passing on details of an enquiry he'd had from the son of Hugh Hart, a former Club member. Hugh was a member for some years after WW2 and was keen to find out if any of his contemporaries were still known to the Club.
Hugh was well known to myself and Jim Hay; in fact I bought my first set of sprint wheels from him at some time around 1950. I phoned Hugh's son, Jim, and then his father and after a good blether we were able to fix up a meeting in The Horseshoe Bar in Drury Street. It turned out, also, that Hugh was still in touch with another old member, John Mortimer, so we ended up with Hugh, John and three Jim's sitting in the Horseshoe last Friday afternoon.
Both Hugh and John are now in their mid-eighties and still going strong. After packing in the bike game they were still bitten by the outdoor bug and got into fishing and in Hugh's case, I think, more serious outdoor pursuits. There quite a bit of talk about salmon and trout they had caught and gralloching deer so they obviously weren't playing at it.
Much of the rest of the conversation, of course, was about mutual friends from that era, many of whom have passed on, sadly. They were surprised and pleased that Isobel Campbell was still Club President in her late nineties. Hugh last met Isobel some thirty or so years ago in Durness when she was getting the miles in touring the Highlands.
They were able to fill in a bit of Club history which has been the subject of some argument in the past. They toured the Continent some time in the late forties with two other members, Andy Nolan and Davie Wallace, and brought back a jersey in the Belgian national colours. They weren't too keen on the colours which were in use at the time (brown and gold bands on a cream background) and managed to persuade the Committee to adopt the new jersey. A great piece of work, I would say; these colours have been a great asset to the Club and are as well known as any in Scotland.
One of Hugh's photographs:
Back L to R: Jim Robinson, John Mortimer, Hugh Hart, Sam Robinson, Davie Wallace
Front L to R: Eddie McCabe, Tommy Walker, Tony Franchi
I don't know exactly when this photograph was taken (pre-1950?) but it looks as if Hugh is wearing one of the new jerseys and Tony one of the old. Unfortunately, colour photography hardly existed then.
The scene in the Horseshoe.
L to R: Hugh Hart, Jim Robinson, Jim Hay, John Mortimer
The only person present who didn't have, or need, a hearing aid was Hugh's son, Jim, who took the photograph.
21/06/2011 Jim Wood
Some Oldies just can’t give up. Jim Wood sent us this account of a nostalgic run he did earlier this year…………………
I have been wanting to do some cycling over roads that I have not used on the bike for some 40 years or so. The idea was to put the bike in the car and get away out of the busy local area and into the quiet country roads away from the city.
As my wife was going hill walking with three of her ex work colleges on Friday, this was an ideal time to do it , I was organised and away by 10am and arrived at the car park near Loch Sloy hydro-electric generators just before 11am.
The plan was to cycle up through Glen Falloch to Crianlarich and then along Glen Dochart on the A85 to turn at the junction at the A827 at the start of Glen Ogle and return back to Loch Lomond, a distance of 47 miles. This is part of well known winter training run we called "The Cri" that I used to do along with some six to eight members of the ‘Gale, of which I am a life member. The total distance was 128 miles which we tried to do at least 3 times before the racing season began inearnest come end of March.
So, with this nostalgic thought in mind, I set off at 11.05am and headed north on the A82 in nice, calm and warm sunny conditions.
I had only been going for about a few minutes when I heard ‘psssssss’. No, not a puncture, but the air brakes of a large tourist bus right behind me, and, as this road is very narrow with few passing opportunities, and as the road surface was badly potholed in places, I had my hands full trying to dodge them. He would need to wait. The chance came soon for the bus driver and away he went followed by 10 minutes worth of following vehicles. So much for quiet roads, that was the first myth gone .
From the start of the run until you reach the start of the climb up Glen Falloch is roughly 4 miles, then the 6 miles to the summit which is about 1200 feet above sea level before you reach Crianlarich. En route you pass through Inverarnan, just after the village where there is a narrow bridge over a small river. There is a very large tree close to the road which makes it difficult to get two cars through at the same time never mind anything bigger, and as I approached the village the traffic had stopped completely and drivers were getting out of their cars to see what was causing the hold up. I was unable to cycle pass them as there is a wall running along the side of the road but there was no traffic coming the other way so I rode along and right up to the head of the convoy to be confronted by a stalemate situation. The bus that had passed me some time before was stuck at the bridge due to a large timber carrying lorry trying to get over the bridge at the same time and there was a long queue behind him as the drivers were busy trying to "advise" each other what to do face to face. I politely said ‘Excuse me, please’, and I squeezed through between them and their vehicles and carried on through the flock of drivers now standing on the road, some asking me what the !!!!!! is going on. Anyway it made for a quieter time for me.
As I started to climb the Falloch, I saw three cyclists in front of me wearing some form of advertising on their jerseys. It turned out it was a sponsored British Heart Foundation cycle run to Inverness. As I passed them I said ‘Hello’. and the lead rider in his twenties charged back up to me to have a blether and enquired if I had spotted their back up team, two cars and a large van with the BHF logo on them. I had, they were stuck in the queue behind the bus and when I informed him of the situation he was obviously disturbed by this and said he would need to stop the other two because they were overdue their medication, both of them had been victims of heart attacks and they had run out of water with the temperature at 25 deg;!! Oh dear!. I hope my appearance on the road did not have any bearing on the situation slowing the flow of traffic earlier!
One thing I had not noticed was the fact that it was no longer a calm day. There was a very strong wind now blowing up the glen, evident by the trees bending and leaves rattling. This would bite me in the backside later.
As I cleared the treeline, the mountains of Balquhidder came fully into view, with Ben More dominating the scene. This is the type of weather that shows the true beauty of Scotland with the Alpine style mountains around you. Incidentally, the road surface up to this point was crap for riding a road bike, the original road was closer to the river and went up by increments making it seem easier ( Oops, I forgot I was 40 years younger). The new road is steeper and the surface is coarser making the job of riding a bike over it not much of a pleasure. The loss of the original roads in this part of Scotland is very short-sighted. We could have had utility/leisure roads for walkers, cyclists, horse drawn vehicles, etc;and been the envy of world, which would encourage visitors interested in outdoor pursuits to come to our country. I do not believe we do not have the money to do this.
At last!!!!. A brand new road surface, as I topped the summit of Glen Falloch and I dropped down to the junction at Crianlarich where left takes you to Tyndrum, right to Killin. Unfortunately, that was the end of the immaculate road surface as well, and things were about to get a lot worse in that department. As I made my way out of the village I spotted a part of the old General Wade road that used to run the whole way up Glen Dochart and beyond. I have cycled parts of that road back in the Sixty's and it was a superb piece of engineering. The new road is the 3rd attempt to replace the route and they are still working on it. Anyway, I am not sure if it has been due to the last two winters or the lack of maintenance but the surface is is in a disgraceful state! What you need to realise is this is the only road running East to West for a hundred miles North and South and is, as I found out, busier than any road I have been on recently. It was constant, with heavy to light vehicles, motorcycles by the dozen, the noise from the tyres was deafening caused by the poor surface, only to be upstaged by two RAF Phantom jets screaming by over my head. This was to be of some amusement later. Once again the scenery is outstanding with the Braes of Balquhidder now to the South and the hills of Breadalbane to the North with Ben Lawers in the distance.
Due to the following wind I reached the point of my turn at the head of Glen Ogle where I stopped for a few minutes to devour the rest of a half-eaten, so-called energy bar. When I checked the Kcal content of the bar I was a little alarmed. My cycle computer which is a "modern marvel" said, up to the point I was at, 23.5mls, I had used 650 Kcal, the bar only has 140 Kcal and I had eaten two of them (280 Kcal). I had had a good breakfast in the morning and fortunately I still had plenty water left in my bottle so I started back along Glen Dochart hoping all should be well!!
Just as I was drawing level with Loch Dochart I spotted a Jet coming from the West at low level over the Loch, then the other. These were probably the same ones I saw earlier. There were also three small boats which people were casting rods from. The jets were so low you could see the water being disturbed by the sound blast and they went right over the people fishing. Well, were they angry!! I could hear them over the wind I was ploughing into, shouting and swearing, waving fists at them as they disappeared. I bet the pilots were killing themselves laughing. I think they knew exactly what they were doing because the wheeled away to the North as soon as they passed over them.
The rest of the run went quite well considering the strength of the wind. As I reached Crianlarich and climbed up through the railway viaduct on the only decent piece of road I had cycled over, all 1/2 mile of it, I was once again confronted by an ever increasing head wind and even when I reached the steepest parts of the descent of Glen Falloch I could not freewheel. So It was a constant battle and it was only when I dropped to below the treeline I found it a little bit easier.
I was now out of water and with the temperature still in the high twenties I was starting to feel the pain creeping into the body. I still had about 4mls to go and I was running on empty, the wind had taken its toll and it was mind over matter time.
I have been in this situation before many a time and it is not funny, you start to have problems focussing your eyes and the world around you can start to get darker. Anyway, I managed to avoid that by having the presence of mind to ease off a bit, lowering the gears a tooth or two and just managed the small extra efforts on the rises as I cycled along the head of Loch Lomond.
Thank goodness I reached the car park without any more problems and stopped beside the car, and all I could think of was food. Strangely, there were three coach drivers talking to each other just a few yards away, smoking and drinking cans of coke. They reminded me of pears, the eating type, because that was their shape silhouetted against the sun. Apparently the coach manufacturers have had to make their driver’s seats much bigger and stronger to support the increasing weight of the average coach driver!
All’s well that ends well. On reflection, I enjoyed the experience, a bit masochististic to some minds but a sense of fulfilment to me , I won't be doing that route again unless the powers to be do something about the state of the roads, and my next nostalgic run will be on the Isles of Bute. Getting enough air in the tyres to get across the Clyde is the first problem !!! Any ideas?
05/04/2011 Gordon Galloway
Gordon has been in touch to report on his progress. He concluded his Land’s End to John o’Groats distance on the 26th of March with a grand total of 879 miles since the 23rd of January. This, despite being laid low for two weeks with a winter virus. As of to-day, the amount he has raised for the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre is £735. Many thanks are due to those Club members, past and present, who contributed.
Perhaps now, with the better weather approaching, he’ll be able to get some real miles in!
06/02/2011 Gordon Galloway
Long-time Club member, Gordon Galloway, has been in touch to tell us about a cycle challenge he is undertaking to raise funds for the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre at Gartnavel Hospital. Gordon has been through the mill with this affliction which is why he may only be a name to the Club’s newer members. He was diagnosed only a few days before the Club’s 80th Anniversary Dinner in 2005, was unable to attend and has had limited opportunities to continue cycling since then.
Gordon joined the Club in 1962 and was Club Hill-Climb Champion in 1963 and 1964 in the days when it was run on the Barnego Brae at Denny. His job took him South for some years when he rode, if my memory serves me correctly, for the Aylesbury CC. When his job brought him back again he resumed with the Club where he had left off and has been a member again continuously since 1974.
Over the last five years he has managed to get out on the bike from time to time with those members who live on the South Side – Colin Fraser, Jim Smith and Bobby Brown and he also keeps in touch with Alex Smith.
The challenge is to ride the Land’s End to John o’Groats distance (874 miles) between the beginning of January and the end of March. He has already ridden 275 miles since the beginning of the year which, considering the weather we’ve had, is probably more than some much younger Club members. If you want more details have a look at his website: JustGiving
19/02/10 Ian Russell in Tenerife
Ian had taken the precaution of hiring a bike for the the three weeks they were there but was probably taken aback when Linda insisted that he used it every day as he had paid up front and it was costing!
He was doing 2 or 3 hours every morning and, as nearly everywhere in Tenerife is ‘up’, that was no mean feat. To quote Ian: “After two hours of a steep incline on busy roads in the heat and using the hard shoulder you tend to get pretty tired and exhaustion creeps in fast. Mileages have little significance when you are averaging 8mph!”
As part of his preparations for retirement Ian equipped himself with a very nice new machine and equipment to go with it and has been steadily getting the miles in, albeit with the CTC, as it’s a little too far from Chapelton to Blanefield to join the Club Sunday runs. Nevertheless, it is still his intention to do that. All he has to fear is sore legs.
Some photographic evidence of his exploits follows:
16/03/09 The West Highland Way - N'Gale style
Alec Horn and Davie Reynolds may not be doing much cycling these days but the urge to hurt themselves is obviously still there. Old cycling habits die hard.
They decided that doing the West Highland Way in winter would be just the thing and set out from Fort William on Sunday morning, 8th March, at 7.15am. Their nightly stops were Kingshouse Hotel, Crianlarich and Drymen and they walked into Milngavie just after noon on Wednesday.
The accompanying photographs say it all.
21/07/06 The Bowery Boys Reunion
Denis Mitchell writes:
After an absence of several years, Bill Roulston made a flying visit from Australia back to Glasgow. Complete with walking sticks, zimmers, hearing aids pills and inhalers (and that was only Greg McKenzie) we congregated in that old billabong, Tennents, in Byres Road. With a good cross-section of his past acquaintances, some old, some even older, we had a great get-together and were reminded of names which had been stored in the back of our memories.
|Bill, centre, with a mop of hair|
Bill started his cycling career with the Glasgow Suburban C.C. where he was schooled in bad habits and, after he moved to the Gale we ruined his racing career with all the social activities of the Sixties and Seventies. Bill never reached his full potential on the racing scene having had to finish his apprenticeship down in London. It was then off to Australia to seek his fortune. Bill confided that most of his money had gone on strong drink, women and bikes, although not necessarily in that order. The rest of his money he squandered away. For a better photograph see his article at the bottom of this page (dated 17/6/04).
|Bill, left, Davie Robb, centre, and others.
Photo by Greg McKenzie after too many pints
22/06/05 The Antipodean Branch of the Nightingale
Denis Mitchell writes:
Why had he come back from Australia? The answer was revealed. It was George's Dad's birthday. I suppose we should be grateful to his Dad for I believe it was his Dad who introduced George to the Nightingale and it was George who introduced me to the club, for which I will be eternally grateful. With that worry out of the way, an evening of revelry was anticipated.
I strolled into The Horseshoe Bar at 7.20pm thinking I would be too early for the start. Lo and behold, there, at the exact spot, 38 years on, were three of the early starters. After a sincere exchange of greetings "Christ you’re losing your hair!" and a reply of "Your hair is hell of a grey!" it was back to "What are you drinking?" On a night when eleven overpaid footballers representing Scotland were playing away to some foreign team, the Horseshoe Bar was rather busy. Amid this frenzy of television-watching humans, there was a circle of intelligent gentlemen talking about everything except football. Within earshot I heard someone saying of our elite band that we were either poofs, English or cyclists.
The time came to move away from the Horseshoe Bar and, as we stepped out into Drury Street, there were cries of "Let’s go round the Crianlarich. Its nearly the longest day". After a few expletives, it was decided that a drum up in the local Indian Restaurant would suffice, where there was more banter and reminiscence. At the end of the night everyone was reminded that the decorative flames on the table were not to be extinguished in the normal drum up fashion. As we all dispersed, wishing George all the best, I am quite sure we all enjoyed the experience of the get-together.
30/10/04 2004 Reunion
After the success of the 2002 Oldies Reunion the unanimous feeling was that we should do this again and indeed we shall. The organisation of the 2004 event is well under way.
The College Club of Glasgow University has been booked for us on Saturday evening, 13th November. Denis Mitchell has been very active, and successful, in rounding up former members and friends of the Club
10/8/04 Jimmy Thomson
The latest old member to emerge courtesy of the Internet is Jimmy Thomson. Jimmy contacted us from Vancouver through the SCU. He joined the Club in 1938 at the age of 16 and, apart from Isobel Campbell, is the only pre-war member who is still in touch. He still rides the bike when he's not playing golf. In fact he's been out every morning for the last three months, he says.
Interestingly, it appears that Jimmy was responsible for the Club’s adoption of the Belgian national colours just after the second world war. Another of the Club’s members had brought a jersey back from Belgium, presumably after being posted there while serving in the Army. Jimmy took it along to a committee meeting. The rest is history.
There are two photographs of Jimmy already on the website. See the PostWar Oldies Gallery and the Club History Page.
17/6/04 Tommy Leonard
Tommy was a keen competitor in the late Fifties and early Sixties (see picture in the Post-War Gallery). He emigrated to Vancouver in 1968 and re-discovered his enthusiasm for the bike while he was out there. He got in touch again through his connections with Gus Paterson, ex-Ivy C.C., also in Vancouver and eventually found his way to the Horseshoe in Drury Street for a convivial afternoon with Jim Hay and Jim Robinson. Photographic evidence below:
17/6/04 George Black
Quite by co-incidence, one of Tommy Leonard's contemporaries surfaced on Sunday last. Denis Mitchell was at a TLI event when one of the competitors introduced himself as a former Nightingale member. If you look at the Sixties Gallery you'll find George pictured with Billy Stupart, also still racing. They must have been putting something in the water round about then!
Anyway, Denis has contact details for George if anybody wants to get in touch.
17/6/04 George McBean
Jim Hay visited George in Australia last year and has been keeping in touch with George's continuing competitive career.
The following is an edited version of the the young fellow's exploits in the Polaris events in 2003 and 2004.
George was competing in the Vets event with his mate Hamish Mackie. They finished 7th. out of 27 finishers in the Vets event, and 65th out of 215 finishers in the Overall Results.
The usual excuses for not finishing higher up - no bike while in New Zealand for three weeks before the event, brake blocks rubbing when going up hills, couldn't get his usual "supplements" , and had to make do with some inferior product Denis Mitchell gave him in 1973 !
In George's own words:
'We drove down to the event venue on Friday afternnoon and stayed in a small motel with some mates from another team that were entered in the normal category not the Super Cat like us Super Vets what a grade to be in! After checking in at the Event Centre and receiving all the checkpoints for the W/E we went back to the Motel and marked up our maps with all the data. The info that they do not give out until after the start of the event is 1) The location of the O/Night camps 2) The points allocated to each checkpoint. and 3) Which check points are active on the day. So you have to stop and mark up all that info then make a decision on which route you are going to take to suit your ability. One can have a general punt at where they will go and which check points they will miss due to distance and terrain so you have a very rough idea of where you are likely to go.
Excerpt from the official report:
It seems that every time the Polaris MTB Challenge visits an area with a pleasant sounding name, the heavens open. In 2000 it was the legendary 'Sunny' Corner. This weekend 600 riders descended upon 'Pretty' Beach in Murramarang National Park north of Batemans Bay and received a soaking from the rain gods and a filthy appearance from the mud angels. (The sun shone brightly on Monday after all had gone home!)
Well, Jim, our results will not be posted on the web site. To cut a long short we took the warm bed option. We arrived at the last check point before the overnight camp site which was only 4 kms away and had a look at each other (it was not a pretty sight I can assure you). We were covered in mud, shoes were unrecognisable, had problems trying to read the map, and the prospect of wearing the same clothes for the Sunday made the decision for us. We opted for the tough 2.5-hour ride to get back to the start, have a warm shower, dry clothes and a lovely, soft, warm bed.
We will probably have another go next year as we had accumulated 175 points on the Sat and we would have been in 3rd place in the super vets had we stayed, however some of us get a little wiser when we get older! (I will have to think about that).
17/6/04 Billy Roulston
Now you can see the benefits(?) of having a website. Denis received the following email and picture from Billy earlier this year:
Hi folks. Great to see the Nightingale web site.The wonders of the internet. A few of the older members were in cyberspace 20 years before. For legal reasons will drop that subject, Well, the Gale jersey made it down under. The Tally car for Dave Smith to remind him of his nights up the Locarno. Keep up the good work.
awe ra best from Australia