Cycling could do with more characters like Johnny Fenwick. Like most things in his life he didn’t take the bike too seriously, but he gave it his best. He was a few years older than me and seemed to be quite streetwise if in a totally bizarre way. His sense of humour was quite brilliant if utterly twisted. Think of David Zabriskie except not nearly as fast on a bike. Jon got a new Vitus 979 – which was one of the most popular bikes of the late 1980s. It was light but I’m sure they bent like crazy. Dave Milne got one, Brewster too, and dozens of other dudes.
On one Saturday morning ride at the bottom of a Carrot Hill, a posh voiced girl was thrown from her horse after it was chased by a dog. She seemed okay but was not too appreciative of concern. Johnny finally asked her, “Did you land on your arse?”
Johnny would sometimes finish races so far off the back that a search party would be sent out for him; taking in all local boozers. I never saw him once get pissed off. He was always more concerned with the taking part* and making sure he lumped as many bodies and bikes into his dodgy green Avenger car with dodgy Broughty Velo roof rack as he could. One evening while coming along Riverside Drive he took his hands off the wheel as we approach the long right hander. After a few seconds of shock we noticed that the car followed the bend perfectly.
Random Fenwick quotes:
“If [that seagull] had hit your bike [on the car roof rack], Brewster, you’d have had a Vitus Albatross.”
“They [boys at disco] were round my new lass like flies round shite.”
“My mum’s house was broken into and you know something the only thing that was stolen was her Val Doonican records. The police were very surprised, too. A few days later I heard familiar crooning from next door.”
[Balancing a Viz comic upright on the bonnet of his car while race results were being read out] “Look, lads! Stand-up comic!”
*Taking part is what counts: Something a pompous race official I met head on in the mid 1990s during my last ever road race could learn! I’d been dropped and just wanted to go back to the strip. The commissaries car rolled past and Mike Burnett looked out and commiserated. I said a few words and then said goodbye. Back at the strip the woman official who’d also been in the car confronted me and said I was disqualified. Good show considering I didn’t even complete the race. She then said I’d be reported to the Scottish Cyclists Union – for holding on to an official race car. Well I’d never touched the damn car and I needed Mike’s help to confirm this. She then said, “Why did you even bother riding if I couldn’t keep up with the group…?” Ah, that’s the spirit!
Flynn, Eddie: TBD