Alan Reed, RIP

I am sad to report that ex-Raleigh employee Alan Reed died recently following a fall. He started working for the company straight from school in 1943 and I had the great pleasure of meeting him about 10 years ago, when I was researching my book Raleigh: past and presence of an iconic bicycle brand. His reminiscences and several photos that he provided feature in that volume. He also appears briefly in the oft-repeated BBC4 documentary about Raleigh entitled Pedalling Dreams, which was produced by Testimony Films. My wife and I regularly exchanged Christmas cards with Alan and his wife Sheila, who survives him. Shelia’s uncle was Lord Mayor of Nottingham and accompanied Viscount Montgomery at the opening of Raleigh’s No. 2 factory in 1957.

Alan started at Raleigh when he was just 14 years old and two years later he was reaming out the bottom brackets of military folding bicycles. He later worked in the export department for some years and spent the rest of his working life in various roles as part of ‘the Raleigh family’. His enthusiasm and pride in his work was striking. He was particularly proud of meeting distinguished visitors to the factory: he met Princess Margaret when she visited in 1976 and chatted with Prince Charles during a works visit three years later.

Alan’s daughter Jane Alsop tells me that the funeral service will be held on Monday the 16th September 2019 at 12:30 at the Trent Valley Crematorium, Derby Road, Aston-on-Trent, Derby, DE72 2AF. This will be followed by a wake at the Harrington Arms, 392 Tamworth Road, Long Eaton, Nottingham NG10 3AU.

Donations, if desired, should be made to either Blind Veterans UK or Children’s Air Ambulance will be collected on the day or can be forwarded to the funeral directors. All enquiries to Kinton and Daughter, Family Funeral Directors, Castle Donington, 01332 390861.

It was a pleasure knowing Alan and we offer our condolences to his family and friends.

Tony Hadland

David Gordon Wilson, RIP

David Gordon Wilson, one of the most inspirational writers on cycle technology, died 2 May 2019. Although best known in the cycling world as the author of the influential book Bicycling Science and as the father of the modern recumbent bicycle, he was deeply involved in other areas of engineering, including turbine design. David held some 60 patents and designed the pump used in the world’s first artificial heart. He was also greatly concerned with matters of public health and ecology, proposing an early fossil-fuel tax and actively campaigning against smoking.

Born in Warwickshire, England in 1928, David lived most of his life in Massachusetts, USA, where he became a professor emeritus at MIT. He was a great inspiration to me, ever since I read the first edition of Bicycling Science, published in 1978. Shortly before his death, David finished the fourth edition, to be published by MIT Press in 2020.

I never met him but we corresponded occasionally and he was always happy to share his knowledge, wisdom and enthusiasm. He was particularly supportive when Professor Hans-Erhard Lessing and I were working on Bicycle Design: an illustrated history, a companion volume to his Bicycling Science.

For the Boston Globe’s obituary of this great man, click on this link: David Gordon Wilson, MIT professor and father of modern recumbent bicycles, dies at 91 – The Boston Globe