South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Steve Bott

Profile: Steve Bott - (Jan/Feb 2001)

Steve Bott is the popular secretary of the Midweek Wayfarers; he enjoys the role and likes to see the enjoyment Midweekers get out of cycling. However having served as secretary since 1994 Steve feels that at 74 he should step down and hopefully make way for someone younger with fresh ideas. He will pass over responsibility for a Section that is in good health.

The Midweek Wayfarers Section has grown to be the largest in the DA with over 60 members, some 30 of whom turn out each week. Increasing numbers have led to the formation of a third sub-Section and finding accommodation for elevenses can be a problem; "we may get 40 meeting at Cobham for example".

In a way this will be Steve's second retirement, his first being from the design office at British Aerospace, Kingston. One of his claims to fame there is that he produced the drawings for the Red Arrows colour scheme; he still remembers the colour specification - Signal Red BS381C 537!

Retiring from BAe in 1990 after 46 years service, Steve had, a year earlier, chosen as a 45-year presentation gift a Dawes Galaxy - a wise choice for a healthy and happy retirement. Steve was introduced to the Wayfarers by Geoff Avis (with whom he had worked at BAe), riding once on his 60th birthday on New Years Eve 1986 and becoming a regular rider on his retirement in 1990.

"I haven't looked back, riding with the Midweekers has replaced the social life I enjoyed in the design office". So Steve joined a group of ex-BAe riders within the Midweekers, including: Geoff Avis, Jack Dowson, Ken Wilson, Tom Fish, Jack Wheeler and most recently Terry Lowe.

Steve's first bicycle was a second (or third) hand 'Fairy Cycle' with solid tyres, given as a reward for starting school - minimum tuition, no outriggers in those days, the scars are still visible!

In his youth bikes were just transport and it was not until he got over a post-war motorbike phase that he started to take cycling seriously. In 1951 he went on a first tour to the West Country on a newly acquired lightweight Rudge, followed by a tour in Ireland in 1953.

These tours made Steve keen to do more, so in 1955 he joined Kingston YHA Group - "most members at that time cycled in the summer and walked in the winter". It was in later years that his memories of those days benefited the Wayfarers when he introduced hostel tours.

In 1959 his life was "overtaken by marriage", Steve encouraged his wife to cycle with him but "it was very hard," says Pat "my bicycle was so heavy. It was not fair, my dreadnought Phillips did not compare to Steve's lightweight bike." At age 50 Steve returned to touring when he accompanied his son, 15 on a tour to Wales, his son subsequently took up caving but Steve continued to tour every year to the present day.

In 1998 he rode the first half of a CTC scenic end-to-end tour led by Pat & Mike Strauss, completing it the following year. Within this profile is a photo of Steve on this tour with his laundry-festooned bike. Steve currently rides with the B group, but knows that when age catches up with him there is a welcome waiting in the Easy Riders.