Thanks For the Memories
You Share Your Cycling Memories With Us
Cycle sport has changed hugely over the last 50 years - not least with the advent of BMX and Mountain Biking in all its diverse forms - and we have seen many great rides by British cycling stars. We want to hear about your favourite cycling memories of the era. Tell us about those stand-out moments that you'll never forget, whether they are outstanding performances by British riders, tales of sporting heroism, sporting disaster or personal moments from your own cycling life.
To share your memories - and images - send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish the best of them here on our website.
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Webb Memories: Graham Webb, world amateur Road champion in 1967, has already featured in our coverage of British Cycling's 50th Anniversary - it was the stunning image of Graham along with fellow world champion Beryl Burton, which we have used to launch our celebrations. So you can imagine how delighted we were when Graham got in touch with us, prompted in part by Brian Cookson's moving account of teenage hero worship and broken dreams, The Day I Met Tom Simpson (see link below). Graham shares with us his own memories of that time and we've also found some great footage of his win in 1967: Graham's memories
The Day the Tour Came To Town: "British bike racing coming to town was, for me, the high-water mark of summer 1989. Our town was a place transformed - no cars, crash barriers, hoardings, crowds and a blaring PA system. Spectators clung to the barriers like washing hanging out to dry, bashing the hoardings when every police motorbike, or commissaire car flashed by. Then they came..." Eddie Allen, British Cycling Web Content Manager relives the day when the Kelloggs Tour hit town - his first taste of road racing. Full Story
The Day I Met Tom Simpson: British Cycling's President looks back at the life and death of his hero, sixties Road Racing icon Tom Simpson and the effects on his, then teenage, self. He also reflects on the wider issues of doping and how the broken dreams of his youth have been repeated for many other since: Full Story
Colin Docker marks the passing of another season: I joined the BCF in 1961 and in a way things have just come full circle for me. I rode my first race on the road (a little local "10") late in 1960, not a million miles from where the National Time Trial Championships (which I commissaired at) were held. I could hardly have imagined being commissaire of the national championship TT back then - it didn't exist as a BC event - but there it is, 49 years on, and 51 seasons of cycling nearly completed. The funny thng is, once 2009 is done (it never is done, what with CX and all!) 2010 is just a heartbeat away, and by the year's end, I just want to get right in there and start season 52! It's been a long journey with some pretty good times along the way, and the journey continues.
Queally's Olympic gold medal - Sydney, 2000: It was one of those moments when you can remember where you were when you heard the news. I'm not a superstitious person, normally, but for some reason I couldn't watch Jason's ride in the Kilo at the 2000 Olympics. Instead I did what all cyclists tend to do if they are at a loss as to what to do - I went for a bike ride. When I got home my wife Julie - not a great cycling fan - met me at the door with the news.
I struggled to come to terms with it and had to wait for a replay before I really believed it. It was the first gold medal for Team GB at the games and with hindsight, it was the start of a great era for British Olympic sport and for cycling in particular. I've often thought back to Queally's win and pondered on its significance. He beat the huge favourite, Arnoud Tournant of France, and in just over 61 seconds he proved to a whole generation of British cyclists that they could beat the best in the world. It was a great result for Queally, but it was an even bigger result for British Cycling.
Nicole Cooke's Commonwealth Games Gold Medal, 2002: Nicole Cooke has been a huge figure in the sport over the last 10 years. She has produced many, many outstanding and memorable performances, culminating in her amazing World and Olympic double in 2008. But my personal memory of her goes back to a tightly fought women's road race at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. A mile from the finish, whilst in a small breakaway, Nicole overshot on a slippery downhill bend and almost crashed. She was forced to a halt whilst her rivals rode on, presumably sighing with relief that they would not have to contend with the tenacious Welsh rider in the race for the line.
However, whilst they jockeyed for position, not wanting to commit to their final sprint, Nicole had re-mounted and charged after them. As they hesitated, she shot past them to claim a memorable and unlikely win. It may not have been her biggest ever win and the drama came out of a mistake, but it perfectly illustrated the total determination and never-say-die approach which has so often proved to be the difference between Nicole and her rivals.
Steve Misses out in Les Gets: I was lucky enough to travel to the 2004 world MTB Championships in Les Gets in the Alps. For the downhill I was high on the mountain taking photos. The final man down was Steve Peat and a very partisan French crowd were silenced by the legendary Yorkshireman's progress towards a seemingly inevitable gold medal. Their favourite, Fabien Barel was in the hot seat, but Peat was inside his time at every check.
As I strained to hear the commentary as it drifted back up the hillside, I heard a massive cheer from the finish arena. Something told me that it wasn't the news I wanted to hear. It took several minutes to find out that Steve had crashed within sight of the finish, handing the gold medal to the Frenchman, to the delight of the crowd. It was a tremendous disappointment. Steve's continuing pursuit of that elusive World Championship gold has been one of the most fascinating sub-plots of recent years in mountain biking. His place in history is assured, but a world championship jersey would seal an incredible career.
Dale Holmes In Action: there's always a thrill to seeing a great rider in live action for the first time. One of the best BMX riders of all time, Dale Holmes was probably past his peak when I first saw him in action at a national series event at Coppull in 2005, though he's still racing and winning today. On a hot, sunny day, Holmes was in a class of his own and made everything seem so easy.
It was one of the first BMX races I'd ever attended and I was also on photo duty and I was delighted to come away with a half-decent shot of Dale, with fellow legend Dylan Clayton just behind him. It was an inspirational day watching great riders like them racing alongside hundreds of other competitors of all ages. It was great induction to a great sport.