David Tay­lor 1937–2020

Leg­endary cy­cling jour­nal­ist who re­ported from out­side con­tem­po­rary realms

Cycling Weekly - - NEWS -

There are few peo­ple whose love of cy­cling was as al­len­com­pass­ing as that of jour­nal­ist David Tay­lor, who died last month at the age of 82.

No­tably, he was the only reporter who felt it was worth­while to travel to Nor­way for the Hour record at­tempt of a lit­tle­known Scot called Graeme Obree in 1993. He was re­warded with the story, and more im­por­tantly the plea­sure of see­ing the man whose bat­tles with Chris Board­man he’d been cov­er­ing for the pre­vi­ous few sea­sons, beat the record of the leg­endary Fran­cisco Moser.

His love of cy­cling was sparked as a teenager, watch­ing events in Fins­bury Park in North Lon­don. He quickly took to rac­ing, es­pe­cially new-to-theuk mass-start events with the ‘radical’ Bri­tish League of Rac­ing Cy­clists.

He raced events in Es­sex in the 1950s, of­ten mon­u­men­tal week­end stage races with a 200km-plus stage on Satur­day, and an­other two stages on Sun­day. “They were from point to point,” he ex­plained. “If you got dropped you were in trou­ble. Most of the sign­posts hadn’t been re­placed af­ter the war. It was a bit de­featist, but I used to stick a map in my jer­sey pocket so that if the worst hap­pened at least I could find my way home.”

Af­ter 25 years work­ing as a Lon­don correspond­ent for the Birm­ing­ham Post, in the late 1970s David moved to the job he should al­ways have had, re­port­ing for Cy­cling Weekly. It was an era when the mag­a­zine’s fo­cus was dis­tinctly Bri­tish. He fol­lowed the old Milk Race, and spent his week­ends at Star Tro­phy and Pre­mier Cal­en­dar events, the cham­pi­onship time tri­als, even the Three Peaks cy­clo-cross.

As a staffer and later a free­lancer, he was a con­stant pres­ence, es­pe­cially at time tri­als, for 40 years. He was de­lighted in re­cent years to see so many of the young rid­ers he’d in­ter­viewed at do­mes­tic events go on to global star­dom, in a way that was un­think­able when he was try­ing to find his way home from deep­est Es­sex.

His sta­tus as a “Lea­guer” gave him a per­spec­tive broader than the do­mes­tic scene. In an era when ‘for­eign rac­ing’ meant the Tour de France, David went to the Spring Clas­sics, even if his chances of get­ting more than a para­graph into the mag­a­zine were al­most non-ex­is­tent.

At home or abroad, he had an un­canny abil­ity to find the ho­tel or B&B most con­ve­niently sit­u­ated for cov­er­ing the race. Per­haps his great­est tri­umph was at the Booth’s Grand Prix at Win­der­mere in the mid 2000s, where a rider at the start who looked to their right could see David 15 yards away in the front bay win­dow of his ho­tel, set­ting about a cooked break­fast and a gi­ant pot of tea, notepad open on the ta­ble be­side him.

He’s sur­vived by Pat, his wife of 43 years, and their daugh­ter Laura.

“His per­spec­tive was broader than do­mes­tic rac­ing”

Tay­lor kept abreast of mod­ern time tri­alling

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