“Dummy Jim” from Scotland to the Arctic circle

Filmmaker Matt Hulse has produced a biopic of deaf Aberdeenshire cyclist James Duthie, known as “Dummy Jim”, who cycled solo from Scotland to the Arctic circle in 1951.

The film is touring Scotland, starting at the Glasgow Film Theatre on 6th July, going around the North and North East, and finishing at the Edinburgh Film Festival on the 17th.

It weaves fiction, documentary, animation and archive to explore the eccentric adventures of profoundly deaf Scots long-distance cyclist James Duthie who hailed from the close-knit Aberdeenshire fishing community of Cairnbulg and Inverallochy. In 1951, he set out on a lone cycling tour to Morocco. After three months of pedalling, he reached the Arctic Circle. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” 12 years in the making, Hulse crafts a multi-layered memorial to a quietly determined maverick and the community that shaped him, with present-day village inhabitants emerging as creative participants. Deaf actor Samuel Dore leads.

From Matt Hulse on Vimeo.

Read more on STV Aberdeen:

Duthie kept a detailed journal of his marathon voyage and meticulously chronicled his myriad experiences. His original intention was to set off for Morocco.

But, as the trailer for the film points out, he never made it.

Instead, a much more dramatic scenario unfolded as the deaf Buchan cyclist entered a completely different world from anything he had experienced before.

“He was one of those adventurous souls who was very curious, very determined, and never let anything get in his way, and that was inspiring,” said Hulse.

“When you think that he was profoundly deaf and growing up in a small community in the 1930s and 1940s, this must have been a huge step for him to take.

“But, although things didn’t always go to plan and he faced difficulties, I like the idea of this wonky cyclist persevering and doing things his way.”

http://tour.dummyjim.com/

When wheel changes were not allowed

Found on the blog of former BLRC track and road rider Alf Buttler comes this story from the 1954 Tour of Ireland.

I was on the motorcycle and had with me a new pair of wheels that I had built complete with freewheel and tyres, we fitted these on the rear carrier with only three toe straps (very like Mavic do now for mountain stages and/or time trials in the big tours on the continent). Outside the headquarters we found the Scottish team in deep conversation near our Ariel… their manager, who we took an instant dislike to, said ‘you cannot carry them wheels its against the rules’. Where are these rules? we asked, he could not produce any. But the next day before the start of the race he got the commissionaires to get us to remove the tyres as it gave us an unfair advantage. This silly way of going on went on for at least 2 years because in the Peace Race the following year no team was able to fit a wheel complete. If a rider punctured he had to change his own tyres. This rule was changed by U.C.I for 1956

A recap of the race by Jock Wadley for The Bicycle is recorded for posterity on the excellent historical website Tour-Racing.co.uk.

Scotsman John Kennedy, riding for the Scotland team, was second on the first stage, which was won solo by Bernard Pusey, riding for the England “A” team. Kennedy kept his place on GC after stage 2, where breakaway men Shay Elliott and Stan Brittain were caught a mile from the line.

He disappears from the top 10 in the stage 3 results and given that only 15 of 108 riders finished, you can assume that if a crash or a mechanical had not ruled him out on this stage, he would have been one of the 59 abandons on a snowstorm-hit stage 6.

An R. Mackay of the Scotland was 14th on the final GC, but he wasn’t the only Scot to finish – John Burrowes of the VC Stella rounded out the classification in 15th (and last). His teammate, Ron Park was 6th, albeit 30 minutes down.

Tour-racing’s recap is a good read, including such drama as a runaway horse and cart which led to the death of a rider, the snowstorms and mass abandons, and a neutralised final stage.

Scottish Time Trialling: photoset

I shot pictures at the Corrieri’s Classic 10 time trial in early March and posted them on Stirling Bike Club’s flickr account – the aim of the game being to get the action shots published as quickly as possible for the benefit of the competitors and the event organisers.

Gone are the days of race previews and news on this blog: Life, The Universe and Everything has taken over and the type of writing that isn’t time-bound has taken precendence: historical pieces, route reviews, and contributed content such as interviews or race PR from the organisers.

I wanted to revisit my photos from that TT though, and process a few of the image files to give an alternative view. Amidst the action and competitor shots, I wanted to look for the little details and take a few sideways glances at racing against the clock – similar to how Balint Hamvas shoots cyclocross. Not being a time trial stalwart myself, this was a challenge – do these evoke the feel of an early season TT in Scotland? What are the feelings that run through your mind as you warm up, head to the start, and the clock ticks down to your start time?

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Headwind on the course.

A chat before the start
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Central Scotland Wheelers Cowie Road Race, 1986

Actor Greg Drysdale edited this old footage for the Stirling Cycle Hub short film competition a few months ago and I recognised some of my local roads on it.

The Central Scotland Wheelers (now City of Stirling Wheelers and still running a time trial on the Cambusbarron course) ran a race on the Cowie loope.

The loop is still used for Falkirk BC’s Billy Warnock memorial, which is one of the first races I entered.

Central Scotland Wheelers Cowie Road Race 1986 from Greg Drysdale (Actor) on Vimeo.

The course is largely flat but includes one steep little brae before the town and another incline as you come into the centre of town. If those are not enough to split the field up, an attack through the narrow twisty back roads between Cowie and the Bellsdyke Road might get away. I like the finish in Cowie, but you could never have that now with all the road furniture and speed bumps. Today’s finish on the main road is always a bit sketchy for me, with the bunch fanning out and cars invariably coming in teh other direction.

“Yes, really, 1986. I filmed it using our new (at the time) Sony CCD V8 AF E Video Camera.” explains Greg.

“I think it’s interesting not only because it’s a nostalgic record of a bike race that happened nearly 30 years ago… but also reveals some vintage cars (and vintage people!) and may be of some interest to the people of Cowie to see their old town and how it’s changed .”

Greg’s cousin Raymond was in one race (he is wearing black and yellow and can be seen on the right at the finish line.)

Please post up a comment if you were involved in the race or recognise anyone in it.

Battenkill

Gabriella Nordin at Tour of the Battenkill

Gabriella Nordin should be known to the female racers in the Scottish scene and to most of the men who pay attention to the women’s scene. But to those of you who don’t, she is a 25-year old postgraduate student who races in the tartan and black of Pedal Power RT.

I had noticed Gabriella entering some pretty big races recently – she seemed to be taking the sport about as seriously as an amateur can do. She raced the Tour of the Reservoir this weekend but unfortunately was caught in a crash that scuppered her race. She is coached by pedal power employee Gary Hand, who also races for KTM Road and Trail and is current Scottish Elite RR Champion. “Having a specific training program makes it much easier to juggle training with my studies. This is the first season that I’m doing structured training and I’m noticing the benefits so far,” she told me.

She has contributed to the blog her report of her race at the Pro/1/2 women’s race at the Tour of the Battenkill, a one-day race in Cambridge, upstate New York, in the style of the European Cobbled Classics.
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Observations from the Scottish Bike Show

I missed the Tour of Flanders to take my 5 year old to the Scottish Bike Show today. The show has moved towards a family event, and I’d like my little one to get into bike riding, but of her own accord, because she likes it. I have marketing on my mind right now, for various reasons,

I’d have liked to attend on the Saturday, of course, and hear what Sir Chris, Brian Smith and Finlay Pretsell had to say, and then catch de Ronde today with a few chilled Chimays. I suspect that is what many folks did, given today was reportedly quieter than the Saturday, but family is where it’s at for me right now.

I was greeted outside the show hall by David Brennan who was leafletting for the Pedal On Parliament Scotland event on Saturday 26th April. I have meant to attend this gathering in the past, as safer cycling is something I want for my own and my kids’ future. Guerilla marketing, perhaps, but David is always open for a friendly chat and was interested to absorb the views / observations I offered from the Stirling perspective – is enforcing a rule that kids must operate their own lock encouraging younger ones to ride to school, for example?

Scottish Bike Show 2014

Inside the hall, we headed for Kiddimoto’s inflatable track (above), which is a superb way for them to market their balance bikes, helmets and accessories and I5 went back for three shots on it. She has all but grown out of the Firstbike balance bike I bought her 3 years ago, and it has done it’s job of circumventing the need for stabilisers, so she was fully confident here and at the upper end of the age range for this attraction.

Scottish Bike Show 2014

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Make the difference to your cycling training – with yoga?

This piece was originally provided by Simon Kirkness for the Dig In At The Dock race programme this January. He had had a blistering start to the cross season in Autumn 2013 with a podium place at Callendar Park. I asked him what had made the difference in getting improved results. If you are starting to make a plan for the 2014-15 ‘cross season, or just getting back into proper riding after winter hibernation, read on for inspiration…

I was getting a bit tired of being the pumped not the pumper, so after the end of last season I changed a few things to try to compete with the fast boys and give me the edge on some of the other guys. We all know it’s not about just riding the bike faster, harder and longer – there’s a bit more to it.

Lomond Shores CX 2013 (15 of 23)
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Crit on the Campus 2014: Youth race reports

The following report may used by any news outlets provided Stirling Bike Club / Owen Philipson are credited.

Stirling Bike Club’s inaugural Crit on the Campus was held today (Sunday 23rd March) at the chilly but sunny setting of Stirling University. Organiser Andrew Wilson had negotiated a traffic-free closed circuit on Scotland’s most beautiful campus. The challenging circuit was to reward technically skilled riders with long speed bumps, a few small ramps and some swooping bends included.

Youth D/E
The action-packed day kicked off at 8:30 with under-10 and under-8 boys and girls competing together in the Youth D/E category for 15 minutes +1 lap. Owen Moran of North Argyll CC beat 18 other boys to win the Youth D category by 4 seconds followed by Archie Ellen of Edinburgh RC in 2nd and Robin Purves of Stirling BC closely behind in 3rd.

The Glasgow Riderz dominated the 7 girls in the Youth D category, with Imani Pereira-Jones, Skye Donnelly and Kasha Butz taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.

Jacob Moore win the Youth E boys with the riders in the same age category grouping themselves together – Jake Speed of Tay Titans only 2 seconds behind him and Andrew Brewer of Glasgow Riderz a few seconds further back in 3rd.

Lastly, of the three Youth E girls competing in the race, Isla McCutcheon of Johnstone Jets beat Kristin Peil of Edinburgh RC and Katie Sandilands, Ross-shire CC.

Youth C
Next up was the Youth C category for riders under 12. At the front of the race, the win came down to a sprint for the line, with Hamish McLaren of Johnstone Jets just pipping Callum Reid of Stirling BC in a photo finish. Aaron King was 2 seconds back in 3rd.

Crit on the Campus 2014

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Scottish Bike Show 2014

The Scottish Bike Show is held on 5th and 6th April at the Glasgow Emirates Arena and I will be going on the Sunday after missing last year.

Event supremo Rowan Mackie explained what is happening at the show this year on a recent Velo Club Don Logan podcast. The family demographic is something that is good for me, because in 2011 and 2012 I dragged my young daughter along only to struggle chat to anyone for any length of time as she scurried this way and that. This time I’m hoping to get her on the kiddimoto track and seek out a few options for her next bike.

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New exhibitors come in the form of Brompton Bicycle, Planet X, Hoy Bikes and Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative. SBS 2014 will also be bringing back the Bike Track People to create a huge pump track for the kids and big kid visitors. Rollapaluza will be onboard to entertain with 500m or 1km dash, The Clan stunt team, a new bike fit studio sponsored by Bikeradar for anyone who wants the perfect fit on their bike at half the cost and plenty more all located on the SBS 2014 website.

Really interesting, for me are the seminars and talks in the SBS Theatre, despite the fact I probably won’t be able to see them. It will play host to Sir Chris Hoy, Craig McLean, Finlay Pretsell (Director of being David Millar and Standing Start), James McCallum, Brian Smith and a few more names to be revealed shortly.
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1 Rigmar Racers Meadowbank

Who are “The Racers”?

– After noticing a new Scottish development team, “The Racers”, on twitter and scoring an early season result via Jack Barret at the Velo29 winter series south of the border, I got in touch to find out more. To my surprise, I found that the team was not brand new, but born out of an existing track club, based at Meadowbank Velodrome. I seem to have scored the journalistic jackpot, because after one of The Racers wrote me this piece to explain what they are all about, they scored another result at the Dick Longdragon Road Race, with Philip Trodden winning and Fin Young third. 

So, the Rigmar Racers, eh? The team’s slick new website TheRacers.org went live last Monday, and since then there have been a fair few questions flying about. To clear any clouds of confusion, I shall try to enlighten you on this new look team stepping up in 2014.

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