cycling in Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and beyond…..

Ron Richardson

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‘Little Ron’, 85, June 2010

I was very sad to hear from Steve on yesterday’s gr 2 ride, confirmed later by Rico, of the passing of our fellow cyclist,  ‘Little’ Ron.

rons-cake‘Little’ is a misnomer, as Ron Richardson was a giant of our club and it was good to see that his contribution was celebrated with a special birthday cake presented to him by our leader John M at the annual dinner in 2015. The cake, with a cycling motif, was to celebrate Ron’s 90th birthday.

On my first ride with the club a good few years’ back I remember asking Ron when he began serious club cycling. ‘1942’, he replied!  It was when he was in the British army during World War 2. This was before most of us in the club (with honorable exceptions) were born, yet he was still outstripping many of us up hills well into his 80’s. I seem to recall that for his 85th birthday, he did an 85-mile ride.

I remember climbing up the hill with him in Windsor Great Park leading to the polo ground and coffee at Savill Garden from the Blacknest gate and him telling me that he was present – as an observer – at the same spot during the final climb in the London Olympics Road Race, 1948.

It was an inspiration to have him ride with us. Many of us will have strong memories of him in his red and white stripey Hounslow& District Wheelers shirt, a reminder of his racing and time-trialling credentials, which would match even the hardest of our hard riders.

I visited him at his home in West End earlier this year to discuss the future of our paper magazine, ‘West Surrey Cyclist’, which he very much hoped would be revived. He introduced me to the editor of the thriving ‘Quarter Wheeler’, Hounslow & District’s magazine in the hope that we could emulate it, but sadly that wasn’t to be. He was still cycling to the shops and on short rides even then.

Ron will be remembered as an absolute gentleman, a humble and honorable man. I’m sure that most of us who rode with him will always have at the back of our minds this thought: ” I hope I’m still riding a bike when I’m Little Ron’s age”!  He was an inspiration to all of us who knew him.

Paul Gillingham

My own personal recollection of Ron is that only about 5 years ago, when he was at least 85, he attended the West Surrey AGM, and then excused himself after some somewhat turgid discussions, explaining that he had to get out on his bike and marshal on an event.  For me, that summed up what was truly important.
John Murdoch
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Ron’s 90th birthday presentation

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Bill and Ron, Windsor Great Park, June 2010

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Ron (85) on Windsor Great Park Hill, Dec 2010

4 Comments
  1. This was so lovely to read thank you.He was true inspiration and a gentle man.
    Rob Richardson (his son)

  2. Had many cycling rides in the company of little Ron who invariably was near the front of the West Surrey peleton and a great climber. He also knew all the Surrey roads and if a leader went wrong, he would take the direct route, and get to the pub first.

    Paul’s comment that one hopes to be still riding when Ron’s age is certainly
    apt and he is certainly an inspiration to us all to keep pedalling

    His widow Jan was chairperson of a local art group of which I’m a member..they
    have been informed of this sad loss.

  3. It’s always very sad, and humbling, to learn something of a fellow club member whom one never actually knew. I saw Ron across a crowded room on a couple of occasions – and even lived in West End for many years as a youngster, when he must have been in his prime – but never rode with him or had a real chance to talk with him. Learning just a little about his life from Paul’s brief summary above reminds me that it’s worth making the effort to walk over and talk to ‘that old fella across that proverbial crowded room’. You’ll probably both enjoy the experience. And one day we’ll all be there…

  4. You can find Ron’s account of his 80th birthday 80-mile ride in the club’s online archives here:
    http://www.jeggo.org.uk/wsctchistarch/mag0604.html#birthday
    and an anecdote here:
    http://www.jeggo.org.uk/wsctchistarch/mag0707.html#happen