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Robertson, Tom: The man this website is dedicated to. Ah, Tom Robertson, what a man! Tom was 66 when I met him in 1986 and was still working at the newspaper publisher D.C. Thomson in Dundee. He worked there for more than 40 years, mostly on the night-dispatch. How he had the energy during the days for all his interests I’ll never know. But even though Tom also loved swimming and painting and who knows what else, he lived in compartments - so us cyclists never knew too much about his other interests. When he was with cyclists he was a cyclist pure and simple.

Actually I think Tom only took up the bike in 1980, aged 60. He and Sandy Berry were the guys who got the Broughty Velo CRT going. It was an ideal if unlikely partnership. Sandy was a crazy 30 year old who took over the juniors once Tom had brought them on far enough to contemplate racing. Through Tom’s connections to the local schools through his Duke of Edinburgh Scheme work (helping young folk with the cycling part) there was a seemingly endless line of kids lining up to give cycling a go. 

Tom believed in riding steady and safely in a group but having said that took a sly delight when his kids grew older and stronger and could dance away up a hill. Tom visited Italy a number of times and he’d tell us in a not completely serious voice about exotic things like “tempo-tempo” and “piano” and how the huge climbs in Italy required pacing and calm. One day he warned us to take it easy on Tullybaccart but we jumped away anyway. At the summit we all stopped to regroup. Tom didn’t appear for ages so we lay on the grass and waited. And waited. Eventually Tom appear in his smooth, relaxed way and cruised past us saying, “I told you to take it easy.” Again there was that Tom thing of not knowing if he was serious or not. Like the time he told me that they rode close together in winter to keep warm...

Tom liked to tell stories. He’d often tell the same story so often that these tales often became so clear in my head that now I sometimes am not sure that I wasn’t even there. Tom would either be bordering on laughing while speaking or deadly serious. He was also master of the apparently completely irrelevant and cryptic remark such as:

“See that Francesco Moser? Big hands.” Tom met the Italian legend one year in Italy. I can’t believe this was the only thing Tom had to say about that meeting.

“Ken whit Campagnolo means? [Do you know what Campagnolo means?] It means ‘Ring’” I have no idea if this is true or not. 

“See that hill near Kirriemuir? That’ll sort you out.” “What one, Tom? Prosen? Ballintore? Glen Airlie?” “No, nope, no way, much worse.” “There are no others, I think, Tom.” “No, no, there’s another one, and it’ll really sort you out. Don Crowe was crying. So was Bill Nixon one time.”

Rennie, Rab: TBD

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