South West London DA: Sou' Wester Archive
Profile of Nigel Taylor

Profile: Nigel Taylor - (Mar/Apr 2004)

Nigel Taylor, our new DA Secretary, is a beginner - only in the sense that Nigel rides with the Beginners Section. At the age of 53 years, with a background of work in sales, mainly associated with the automotive industry (and latterly, computer programming) for a variety of companies, he is clearly not a beginner. His lengthy experience should be useful in carrying out the work of DA Secretary.

He first cycled as a child when the family lived in Sutton and he was able to trundle his tricycle around the family garden at Heath Drive. When he was about 11 years old, his parents purchased a Raleigh tourer. It was heavy and had a Sturmey Archer hub gear. It would take him on rides with his school chum from Homefield School in Sutton, to places such as Westerham. He left Homefield to go, via Kingswood House School in Epsom, to Hawkhurst Court School in Wisborough Green, to be coached for the Common Entrance Exam from where he went to Wellingborough School in Northants. On his bicycle he commuted daily between the Junior dormitory and the main school. Weekend leisure riding took the juniors on longer rides, including on and off road to Billing Aquadrome, Sywell Aerodrome, or Corby. On occasions they would cycle past the Girls School at Haddon Hall, to satisfy their interest as curious teenagers.

When Nigel had successfully passed the requisite quota of exams he came back south to work and, using an upgraded bike built from an Allin frame with a five speed derailleur, he commuted to his various places of employment. It was only three and a half to four years ago that he graduated to serious cycling and an involvement with the CTC. This started when a colleague persuaded him to go on a Charity Bikeathon in 2001.

When Nigel afterwards showed enthusiasm for more cycling activity, his friend said, "Consider this Nige.....," and put forward an ambitious plan to ride from Lands End to John O'Groats. This led to Nigel buying a new bike from Pearsons - a hybrid with a design more suitable for their plans to tour. The first tours were in the South West region, from Padstow to Bridgwater and then in the following year, from Bridgwater to Bristol and Bath. They also rode the Taff Trail over the Brecon Beacons. This was soon to be the start of tours with organiser Kevin White of Bike Adventures - in 2002 they rode Coast to Coast on a six day tour from Great Yarmouth to Aberystwyth. In 2003 Nigel and another group rode on a 10 day tour from Hook of Holland to Zurich in Switzerland. In the meantime Nigel and colleagues did the Bikeathon again.

An event which has been driving Nigel to cycle on these tours and to join a cycling club was the diagnosis in 2001 that he was suffering from diabetes. When the GP recommended more exercise, he was put on a cycling exercise machine in the 'Stage 2' extension at Cheam Baths. "I fell in love with that machine. When I moved up from 5 minute sessions to 15 minute sessions at level 20, (the highest level) - I just felt exhilarated. I was inspired to get out of the gym and on to the road".

So that was the start of Nigel's active cycling programme. In early 2002 when Nigel was at the Pearsons One-Day Sale looking at track pumps, he made the acquaintance of a helpful sales assistant. This was Tom Fiddimore who is known to many of our readers. Tom advised him: "That pump is worth its weight in gold" and after successfully selling the pump to Nigel suggested, "you should consider joining the Surrey Road CC." As their meetings take place in the hall next door to Nigel's home in St. Barnabas Road, Sutton, attendance at the Club is very convenient. At his first visit he was told that their Club Secretary Marjorie Perkins was vacating the post. So Nigel, always the willing volunteer stepped in to offer his help on their website and to produce the Minutes.

It was also Tom who introduced Nigel to Cyclism evening rides and our Saturday Beginners Section. He was not a newcomer to the CTC as he had been persuaded by his cycling friend to join the CTC two years before in 2001. When Tom introduced him to David Aylett he was told by David that, "there is a vacancy for the job of Secretary of the CTC. Would you like to do it?" Nigel, believing that he was being offered the opportunity for a career with the national organisation in Godalming was definitely interested. It took time for him to learn that he was being invited to lead the District Association for S.W. London but despite the misunderstanding, Nigel lightheartedly says, "whilst I may have become DA Sec. on a false basis, I thought it seemed a reasonable and possibly satisfying job - so I am now after only a few weeks in the seat, finding myself on a steep learning curve, learning how the DA and the CTC work."

Nigel says that, "when I get more firmly into my new role, one of my aims will be to get more of our DA members involved." As a start he says, "we should be encouraging more Beginners to lead rides. So now I have volunteered to put my name on the list to lead rides on Saturdays". Our new Secretary has shown as a comparative 'beginner' he has done more to get active and involved in three and a half years than a lot have done in 13½ years.

Good for you Nigel.

Portrait of Nigel Taylor - click to enlarge