South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Ian Burt

Profile: Ian Burt - (Jan/Feb 2006)

Ian's Story

Seeing that all of my parents and grandparents were involved with the DA right from its formation, I didn't get much choice about cycling. I was dumped in a trailer (with my sister, Sue) and towed around by my parents on their tandem, so my first experience of the club was from 18 inches off the floor. This improved somewhat with a rise to a seat on the back of Mum's bike (great for keeping my hands warm inside the back of her jacket) and from there to the back of a Claud Butler lightweight tandem where I stoked Mum around (her words not mine).

Dad was by then towing Sue around on a tandem that gave a new meaning to 'dead weight' (Sue included!). Cycling gave up on Sue as a lost cause quite early but the rest of us (Mum, Dad and I) carried on with the Family Section until we all had an enforced break when Dad's father died and I didn't come back to it until I was sixteen. This was on a fixed wheel bike based on a frame that we found when clearing out my Grandfather's garage. Up until then I'd ridden a Falcon 'Bantam' with 24 inch wheels (remember them) that Dad had converted to three gears.

Cycling became very useful once I got to University at Loughborough, both for commuting to campus and as an escape by riding with either the local CTC or the Loughborough Road Club. I tried racing during my first year at Uni. and discovered the delights of 'Blowing Up' in my first 25. I actually rode for the University Club for two years after it had ceased to exist and the jersey lasted even longer - how's that for good value. A mid course stint on a construction site near Sheffield gave me rides with the South Yorks & North Derbyshire DA into the Peak District each weekend on an old hack bike with a 59" fixed, a saddle bag and a lack of respect for hills. None of us in the group had these modern ultra-lightweight bikes that are so common for riding up the likes of Winnats Pass, it was there, so we just went up it on whatever we had.

I tried my hand at racing whilst at University but only in time trials. On my return south I joined the Toads (Surrey Road CC) and got stuck into massed start racing and managed to get a second category licence. For the last few years of my time with them I was the timekeeper for club events and I believe I still hold the team thirty record (not on my own of course and only because nobody rides thirties these days). I then moved on to the Kingston Phoenix RC as one of the 'reliable helper' types of clubman, my racing days having died with my expanding waistline.

To tell the truth I am extremely proud of my cycling heritage, my parents and all my grandparents rode tandems, and I have many fond memories of riding with them, the local area and club activities. Jesses café at Leatherhead, Headley Forge tea rooms, Oxshott tea rooms (is there a pattern here?), immediately spring to mind along with lending a hand on the BCTC and helping to start up the Beginners Section. I've ridden to some extent over most of the British Isles and done CTC tours in Corsica, Switzerland, Normandy, Lesvos to name but a few. What comes next I don't know as I left my employer of 20 years (London Underground) two years ago feeling in need of a change of direction and I'm still looking.

Ian Burt