Sandy Lindsay, Mr Deeside Thistle:
Incredible and dedicated service to the whole cycling community for over 50 years; enthusiast; pioneer; communicator and role model.
Alexander J Lindsay joined Deeside Thistle Road Club (as it was then titled) as an 18 year old and became Treasurer in 1967 and Secretary in 1968. He has held both roles in the 53 years since then with distinction and shows no signs whatsoever of freewheeling. The Club had fewer than 20 members when he started; the majority were under 20 years old. The world was a different place and cycling had a different status and following; now Deeside Thistle Cycling Club has in excess of 600 members and has been the consistent winner of an annual award for the largest club in Scottish Cycling. But it’s not just about numbers.
Sandy has been the consistent and motivating factor. He has committed enormous amounts of time and energy to running the club, keeping in touch with members, inspiring new generations to be involved, supporting community and charitable activities and keeping abreast with the latest thinking.
In the early years he was an outstanding time trialist and was winner of the club season-long BAR for 19 consecutive years. Unrivalled at longer distances he was a hard man to beat especially at 100 miles and 12 hours. Nationally he was second in the Senior BAR and a consistent challenger at 100 miles. Weather was never a factor and in the days before tri bars and aero helmets he powered round the well-known courses in a huge gear.
But Sandy was never just a racing man. He enjoys the bike in so many ways. He has been a mountain biker for many years and enjoyed rough-stuffing over wild passes long before the days of mountain bikes. He held the Aberdeen-Dundee-Aberdeen place to place record and the Scottish 100 mile straight out record. He pioneered routes like Aberdeen-Ardnamurchan-Aberdeen and all this while being in charge of the club.
Sandy led summer hostelling tours in the 1970s and 80s. They are legendary. Some of the youngsters who took part are now approaching retirement. They have commented that the inspiration they received from Sandy and the club have made a real and positive difference to their whole lives.
Sandy was an innovative fund raiser for club and community funds. He initiated the Stonehaven Bike Ride hugely supported by his first wife, the late Mary Lindsay whose dedication and organising ability were legendary and celebrated by all who knew her. Then, in 1987 he established the Great Inverurie Bike Ride which was aimed at family groups. This was long before such events were a national feature. Now with major support from his wife Elaine the GIBR ran for 21 years before transferring the event to the local council. Sandy then inaugurated the King of the Mountains 100 mile sportif around well-known and challenging climbs in the north east when such events were still in their infancy.
He encouraged newcomers to the club and assisted many youngsters in their racing interests. While it may be invidious to pick out one rider, the club’s most successful rider of all time, Sarah Rowe nee Phillips was a multi-championship winner at Scottish and UK level in the 80s and 90s and rode for Team GB in the Olympics. She, like Sandy, now puts a lot back in to the club by way of coaching youngsters.
Sandy continues to raise money for charities. He has made several trips to The Himalaya and ridden to Base Camp Everest. He has helped to raise funds for charities in Africa founded by friend and clubmate Alasdair Brodie. Just a few weeks ago Sandy rode over 600 miles in 7 days around Scotland’s remotest places in a tour organised by his son, Robert, who is also putting his energies and talents in to organising cycling and community events clearly inspired by his parents.
Sandy Lindsay does all that at the same time as running the administration of the club. Our monthly newsletter, Cranks of which he is editor and major contributor is 46 years old and Sandy has never missed one edition. It’s unusual not to have 3 or 4 emails from him every week. Amazing but that’s what we’ve come to expect as ‘normal!’
Sandy was made an MBE in the Honours List in 2000 for services to education
He deserves a knighthood for services to cycling!
AGC October 2020