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Founding of a Cycling Club

Clubs are a strange thing. A few people with a common interest get together and try to attract others in order to do things together, to share in a passion, to do things better or different. There must be millions of clubs around the world and for many there must be those moments usually in the beginning when it seems like the most exciting thing there is and perhaps at times the only thing there is. Life is good. We’re making a difference. So it was with the Broughty Velo CRT in the 1980s, a club like no other, unique in its place and time and mix of personalities, but paradoxically and thankfully like millions of others.

The Founders in 1980: Tom Robertson, Mike Burnett, Morag Paterson, Stewart Pritchard and Sandy Berry

The club started essentially as a splinter away from the Dundee Thistle RC by two riders (Sandy Berry and Stewart Pritchard) who were keener to do more miles than pints, and to start something to support the cycling interest around Broughty Ferry.  Sandy’s bike shop Broughty Bikes was a natural focal point and a good way to contact interested riders.  Very quickly the founding group of Tom, Morag, Mike, Sandy and Stewart formed and gave birth to the BVCRT.  They reckoned they had the best club colours - and a much more enthusiastic 'have a go' attitude than the other Dundee clubs of the day.  The colours were kind-of plagiarised off a Dulux Ceramica team Sandy had seen when in France some time before. Tom's contribution in leading Saturday rides was a key part in developing the club.  The formula worked rather well with some great characters and results. 

Tom was the stabilizing influence on the club and without him things would have fallen apart rather quickly. Tom guided the youngest and most experienced riders and if he felt the time was right he’d pass them on to the faster section guided by Sandy Berry. Stewart Pritchard kindly supplied many cuttings detailing the early days of the BVCRT. Many of the reports are written by Mac Hastie.

velo_phil (Small)

Early days BVCRT - courtesy of Phil Morris

These concern the BVCRT's first attempt to hold an open road race around the Tayport - St Michaels circuit.  Can't remember if I was organiser or commissaire that day but it was a disaster.  A late dump of snow overnight caused chaos on the roads.  We couldn't even get up the Stannergate brae out of the Ferry.  No idea who if anyone turned up for the event - nobody complained though.  The event was run some time later and proved quite popular. Think I might have a few photos in the attic of some local riders.” - SP

Courier 22-03-1980 (Small)
Courier 24-03-1980 (Small)

This selection are mostly race results - but Mac Hastie, who I think wrote them all, was apt to make occasional witticisms about riders.  In amongst this lot may be his 'Broughty's bionic man' quips.  Quite a laugh really. B*s%$rd!  The then Holdsworth cycle supplies rep, Tom ....., leant me a new fangled gadget for cyclists, an onboard computer!  Was the size of an old tobacco tin and connected to sensors by wires!  Tried it on a Rosyth 10 with Jim Petrie (Dundee Wheelers) and it was quite helpful in maintaining speed.  Tried it then on the Fife 12 hour ... and the battery ran out half way!  Anyhow - BV was the first club to try a cycling computer in the District.” - SP

Courier 07-07-1980 (Small)
Courier 08-05-1980 (Small)
Courier 05-07-1980 (Small)
Courier 23-08-1980 (Small)
Courier 16-08-1980 (Small)

Slightly more painful memory this time ... the origins of the 'Crash of the Year' trophy.

I think you say something about this on the website.  It was started in late 1980, sometime after 0930 on Saturday 13 September.  The attached Courier cutting notes the occasion and includes another of Mac Hasties really funny quips. Double b*st%&d!!

The trophy started as a campag large flange rear hub that had broken across spoke holes.  With the application of gentle heating c/o oxy-acetylene torch inBroughty Bikes, and being allowed to flow slowly within a skin of alu-oxide, it formed an attractive if undesirable object.  I got it in 1980.  Tommy Knight got it one year after hitting a brick on the road in an Aberdeen road race.  I think Ian Dyer may have got it another year after peeling his scalp off his head using the edge of a roadworks excavation near Coupar Angus.

There were certain rules regarding its award.  It was never to be awarded posthumously cos that would have been in bad taste.  And any suggestion of having an accident deliberately would lead to disqualification.

Excuse me if I don't send the Courier photo of me lying in bed with a huge bandage on my leg!”  - SP


Courier 20-09-1980 (Small)

On hitting cars  - I think SB was the last person I remember getting the Crash of the Year award for his outstanding performance across the wing of an oncoming vehicle. [Yours truly got it for precisely this in 1990!]

Dave McCallum was a vet back then - and did 25's in close to an hour.  Famous for such catchy bunch riding phrases as ...
when going around the town - "Go faster! I can't come through"
or on a Thistle reliability trial crossing the moor south of Amulree in horizontal snow, when I reached the back after a stint on the front and found Dave sheltering there  " ... this'll sort the men from the boys..." .

Tonights offering on scanned newspaper cuttings... 1981 photo and article summarising the last year and aspirations of the club.  Mentions of Tom and encouraging youngsters. I forget what the problem was with my TT BAR times.  And if you look hard you might spot Phil M.  No idea why (I believe now, the late) 'Dunc (the punk) McHardy' (sole member of Tayside CC - and far from being a punk in reality) was in the picture.” - SP


"This time 3 photos - two taken in the Broughty Bikes workshop (Tommy and SB) and one from 1981 - theA year BV went to the annual Harrogate cycling festival.A  That was a laugh and a half!A  My favourite recollection was from the campsite in the grounds of a large house with many screechy peacocks.A  It was late in the evening, we hadn't all been to the pub and avoided a run in with some English skin-heads who took offence to one of the team pointing and laughing - at a teddy bear in a bag hanging higher on the wall above one of them.A  Any way, the usual sort of noisy tartan milarky was going on, and attracting some comment from more local neighbouring tented cyclists,A when Gavin Baigrie shouts out ... "What d'you wrap a haggis in?" .... wholee campsite went silent as the would-be sleepers all wondered what on earth could possibly be funny about a sheep's innards ..."Plastic !".A  May just have been the moment (or the beer) but even the more-locals laughed their sleeping bags off.

Not so funny that year was taking only my track bike to H'gate to ride the grass track meeting.A  Double disaster.A  Got well cuffed by the much more experienced riders with sharpened elbows.A  And then had to suffer riding around the dales on a single fixed wheel for the rest of the trip.

Sure I saw some other cycling photos in recent clear out so may be yet more to follow." - SP

Courier 02-1981 with photo (Small)
Courier 31-05-1981 (Small)
SandyBerry_Jan1982s TommyKnight_Jan 1982s

.. and ... another photo and article from 1985 this time.  This one rather embarrassing due to the naff beard, and comparing us to a bunch of butterflies took a bit of getting over.  But look at us all in club colours!

This was part of an attempt to raise club profile in anticipation of seeking spknsorship.  I approached Grizelda McGregor, a DC Thomson journo who wrote the 'Fiona' column/ page (then the page 3 of the Courier).  This was getting close to the end of my involvement in the BV having just started a job north of Aberdeen.  Never had a beard again.

And who was Les McInulty?  Evidence that you shouldn't believe what you read in papers.” - SP

Courier photo 25-04-1985 (Small)

Robin Stewart, Tommy Knight, Stewart Pritchard, Richard Brewster, John Wilkie in front of partly obscured Craig Bruce who is in front of obscured Ian Dyer (?), Mike Burnett, Dave Milne, Bruce Hutchison ("Bucket"), Colin Douglas, Tom Robertson

Possibly last one - and you should recognise everyone.  I think you might already have this one on the website.  I also have an original photo from DC Thomson if you need/ want a higher quality scan.  And I don't remember doing the ride discussed in the article - unless it was the one to Reekie Linn chucking the landsape down the gorge.” - SP

Courier photo 26-03-1990 (Small)
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