MTB pioneer’s body is found in shallow grave

Professor John Finley Scott disappeared nearly two years ago. His murderer has since been convicted and sent to prison, but there was no body.

Professor Scott’s body has now been discovered in a shallow grave near his house, reports

Ride Free

In 1994 I was the presenter of CHAIN GANG, a six part magazine series on cycling, produced for Tyne Tees TV and Yorkshire Television.

One of the show’s interviewees was Jason McRoy, Britain’s first truly global MTB superstar.

The video below contains footage – with permission of Tyne Tees and Rose McRoy – of Jason more than a year before he starred in the famous MBUK video, Dirt.

Jason McRoy – 1994 TV appearance from on Vimeo.

Unbelievably, Jason died in 1995 but his memory lives on… has just run an excellent two-part feature on Jason and his legacy:

Riders and journalists pay their tributes

Jim McRoy talks about his son, the first homegrown global superstar of British mountain biking

Video also available as a direct download via Libsyn or for Apple TV via iTunes.

Half a million video views!

The videos on YouTube have broken through the half a million views ceiling. The vids have been watched 505,883 times. Thanks for watching! Four of the top performing vids are embedded below.

More content is coming soon. There’s a nifty little video on bike part names and five pieces rescued from ITV’s deep storage video vault.

In 1994, I was the presenter of a six-part TV series called ‘Chain Gang’, produced by Tyne Tees/Yorkshire TV .

Tyne Tees has now allowed me to publish extracts of this TV series on via YouTube and Vimeo and iTunes.

The video shorts will feature:

* MTB superstar Jason McRoy (RIP)
* A bike tour of Malawi
* Raleigh and Dave Yates factory feature
* York Rally
* An urban race between an Aston Martin bike and an Aston Martin car

Brand owners: contact Big Al to get involved in this series.





Join the cycling club that’s going nowhere

Pay a fiver and you could be a member of Rollapaluza CC, the new, British Cycling-affiliated cycling club by the “crew responsible for the resurgence of roller-racing in London and the UK.”

“Two cyclists battle it out on a pair of vintage rollers connected to a huge dial over a simulated 500m distance at speeds in excess of 50mph!”

Club members can buy and wear a smart, black and red jersey and cycling cap.

Rollapaluza has run 50+ roller-races in the last 12 months with over 3000 competitors. The crew was at the Tour de France prologue and the Single Speed World MTB championships in Aviemore, Scotland.

Later this year Rollapaluza will be at the World Firefighter’s Games, running a roller-race in the 11,000 seat Liverpool Echo Arena.

The video below shows the work Rollapaluza has done ‘on tour’. Caspar Hughes and Paul (Winston) Churchill took their oversize RPM dials and sets of racing rollers on a a 26-date University tour for a corporate client.

“If you didn’t think you wanted to join a club, we could be the club for you!” said Winston.

Taiwan gets 1950s-style Cyclists’ Special train

The China Post reports that the Taiwan Railway Administration yesterday began operating its “environmental protection train service,” with a group of 272 cycling enthusiasts taking their bikes on special trains.

The service is on a three-month trial and takes over whole trains. Cyclists register as “passenger groups” to book the exclusive-to-cyclists trains.

The bikes go in their own carriages, reminiscent of UK group rides in the 1950s. The CTC organised ‘Cyclists’ Specials, as seen in this fascinating video:

Forget the ing, we need to become an ism

Matthew Parris may be scolded by the Press Complaints Commission – a slapped wrist, at best – but those cyclists asking PC Plod to take a look at his “incitement to hatred” are barking up the wrong tree.

In February some new laws come into operation in the UK. There’s the new incitement to homophobic hatred law (oops, I’ll get knobbled there, then, apparently I’m an American homophobe obsessed with sex), and the linked religious hate law. But cyclists are not all homosexuals (there are some fine gayand lesbian cycling clubs, though – Dykes on Bikes, love it) and nor is cycling a religion.

In order to nail Matthew Parris – to coin a phrase – we therefore need to formalise what we all know to be true. That cycling is a religion.

It’ll help if we agreed to a slight name change. So, it’s not cycling that we worship, it’s cyclism.

Our Founding Father*, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily Shimano.
And forgive us our footpath trespasses,
as we forgive them that force us off the road.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the powermeter, and the glory,
For ever and ever.

* John Kemp Starley

Be warmed by these vintage bike posters

T’other day’s mention of ancient bicycle posters elicited an email from Alan Clarke of Sunrace-Sturmey Archer in the Netherlands. I’ve known Alan for yonks. He was a useful background source during the 2000-1 research into the Sturmey Archer vs Lenark saga.

He reminded me about the utterly fantastic heritage website created by Sunrace-Sturmey Archer.

And Alan also pointed me in the direction of an archive of cycle history posters and pamphlets stored electronically by Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. There are 145 images on there, all clickable to make bigger. The copyright restrictions are tight so I’ll just link to my fave images.

This is an advert for a modern-sounding bicycle brand, Psycho Cycles.

The Triumph Cycles ad from 1934 is for couples. It’s cute.

For the life of me I can’t figure why the Constra saddle of 1898 is no longer commercially available because “Persons who have condemned every other saddle are loud in its praise.”

I know it’s not yet December but here are two festive images. In 1897 the English Illustrated Magazine put a flying cycling female Santa on the cover.

And there’s this cracking Christmas card featuring a middle class Edwardian family going to visit friends on their bikes. You’ve got to love the two fighting boys. The card is entitled ‘A Jovial Christmas’, and there’s a ditty:

No more good old Christmas by the fire
But mount the “bike” with india rubber tyre
Speed swift away our loving friends to greet
And wish them joy and happiness complete

Much better heron v ravenous beastie graphic

When I did this story on an Indian cyclist beating off a ravenous tiger with his trusty bicycle I used a Googled pic from a 1930s ad campaign by Raleigh Africa. This featured a smiling African guy outpacing a lion.

I love these old bike ads. They’re so evocative of why cycling is so great. Well, perhaps besting a chasing predator is not exactly why most people get into cycling but many of the 19th and early 20th Century bicycle ad posters were classics.

In fact, many are genuine ‘works of art’ as they were produced by masters such as the much parodied midget artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. If there’s a demand for such imagery (get commenting below!) I’ll do some scans of the great cycling posters.

In the meantime here’s a poster from Raleigh India which, had I realised I had it last week, would have been a better illustration on the ‘man fights off tiger’ story:

I’ve got tons of archive stuff from the early days of cycling. I’m not a collector as such, it’s just that I’ve been the editor of UK bike trade mags for nigh on twenty years and I’ve acquired bike history bits and bobs along the way. The tiger pic is from a Raleigh Centenary calendar produced in 1987. I’ve also got bound copies of bike trade mags going way back when and daft stuff like Sturmey Archer tankards.

When the famous British company went pop in 2000 I was in at the death throes, reporting on the American business guru who sold the company down the river. These stories – 37 of them! – were carried on a primitive version of, often almost in real-time. I vividly remember attending a stormy creditors meeting and then reporting on it seconds afterwards by dictating to a colleague over the phone.

At the time, this sorry saga looked like a typical British industry disaster. As it turned out, Sturmey was bought by Sun-Race of Taiwan and now the product line-up is immensely strong and – shock, horror – the quality control has never been better.

Outpacing a predator on a hub-geared bike would now be so much easier thanks to superior Taiwanese engineering tolerances.